Rooming house operators will now have to pass a ‘fit and proper person’ test, to better protect vulnerable residents.
The Rooming House Operators Act 2016 comes into effect from today, meaning anyone who wants to operate a rooming house will have to be licensed.
Existing rooming house operators will have 120 days to apply to the Business Licensing Authority for a licence.
New entrants to the industry must hold a licence before they can commence operating a rooming house.
Significant penalties will apply for anyone found guilty of operating a rooming house without a licence, including jail terms of up to two years or a maximum fine of more than $36,000 for individuals, or $182,000 for bodies corporate.
Under the new licensing scheme, a person will be ineligible to hold a rooming house licence if they:
- have been convicted or found guilty of certain types of serious criminal offences in the past 10 years
- have been convicted, found guilty, or declared by a court to have breached certain other laws in the past 5 years
- are insolvent or bankrupt
- have had a person appointed to make decisions on their behalf, for example financial and legal decisions.
The obligation to be licensed will be in addition to operators' other legal obligations, including the requirement to register their rooming houses with the relevant local council, and the existing minimum standards relating to privacy, security, safety and amenity in rooming houses.
Additionally, an online register of licensed rooming house operators will help people looking for accommodation to find a legitimate licensed operator.
For further information and to apply for a rooming house operators’ licence, view our Rooming house operators licensing scheme page.