Melbourne Magistrates Court has found that a rooming house operator and its sole director breached Victoria’s residential tenancy laws.
Houseshare Vic Pty Ltd operated rooming houses in Brunswick, Brunswick East, Carlton and Fitzroy North. The company breached the Residential Tenancies Act by:
- demanding and accepting bonds that exceeded the equivalent of 14 days’ rent
- failing to supply residents with bond lodgement forms and a written summary of their legal rights and responsibilities
- failing to lodge collected bonds with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority.
The court also declared that Houseshare’s sole director, Vasilios Panagiotopoulos, knowingly authorised or permitted these breaches.Mr Panagiotopoulos and the company were restrained by the court from such behaviour and were ordered to pay for corrective advertising, including displaying notices:
- at entries, exits and customer service areas of its accommodation premises
- on all current websites that they own, operate and maintain, or upon which they advertise accommodation to the public.
The company and Mr Panagiotopoulos were ordered to implement a program to ensure they comply with the law in future. This order includes engaging people experienced in consumer protection residential tenancies law – at the defendants’ expense - to oversee the program.
The court also ordered that either Houseshare or Mr Panagiotopoulos pay $2000 to meet Consumer Affairs Victoria’s legal costs.