On this page:
- Setting up your business
- Standards and safety
- Managing residences
Setting up your rooming house business
Display a copy of your licence
You must display a copy of your licence in a conspicuous place inside the front entrance to each rooming house you operate.
Advertising the rooming house
If you advertise your rooming house (for example, in a newspaper or online), you must advertise it as a rooming house, and not any other type of accommodation.
Keeping a register of residents
You must keep a register of every resident for at least 12 months after the date of the last entry into the register. The register must include the resident's name and future address, and arrival and departure dates.
Rooming house operators public register
Rooming house operators who have applied for and been granted a licence by the Business Licensing Authority (BLA) will appear on the public register of licensed rooming house operators.
For more information or to the view the register, visit Public register- rooming house operators.
Local council rooming houses public register
Rooming house operators must notify and register each rooming house premises with the relevant local council in accordance with the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008. This is a separate process to the licence application or renewal application lodged with the BLA.
Council contact details are available on the Find a council page on the Know your council website.
Rooming house operators can apply to the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria to stop the public from seeing their property's address on the Registered rooming houses public register.
The Director will only restrict public access to the address when there are exceptional circumstances. This may include suppressing the address of a rooming house run by either a housing agency registered under the Housing Act 1983, or a non-government organisation funded to deliver family violence services.
Suppression in these circumstances may be approved to help protect residents threatened by interpersonal or family violence.
Rooming house operators must make their request to the Director in writing.
For more information, view Search registered rooming houses.
Rooming house standards and safety
Minimum standards in rooming houses
You must ensure that your rooming house property meets minimum standards. These include a range of existing minimum standards, and additional minimum standards.
For more information, view Minimum standards in rooming houses.
Gas and electrical safety
For information on your obligations regarding gas and electrical safety in your rooming house, view Rooming house owners: meeting your gas and electrical safety obligations.
Changing the use of the building to a rooming house
If you want to change the use of your building into a rooming house, the building must meet the relevant requirements of the Building Regulations 2006.
This may involve arranging works such as:
- installing the necessary fire safety measures
- changing door hardware
- installing sanitary facilities
- other works.
You must find out if a building permit is required for any building work to change the use of the building to a rooming house. A council municipal building surveyor, private building surveyor or other suitably experienced building professional can give advice.
For more information, you should contact the building department of your local council. To find your local council details, visit Know your council.
Sometimes, a municipal building surveyor, private building surveyor or other qualified building professional may find that no building work is required for the new use as a rooming house.
Managing rooming house residencies
When a resident moves in
For information on what to do when a resident moves in, view What must an operator give a new resident?.
Bond and rent
For information about bond and rent in rooming houses, view:
Generally, you are responsible for paying water, gas and electricity bills.
You may only charge a resident for a utility if the room has separate meters and if the resident has an exclusive right to the room.
In these cases, you must not charge the resident more than what the utility provider charges the operator.
You are responsible for urgent and non-urgent repairs.
However, if a resident has caused the damage, you may ask the resident to pay for the repairs. You must still pay for the repairs until the resident compensates you, as otherwise you may not be meeting your obligations to other residents.
All communication regarding repairs should be in writing. You can use electronic communication (for example, email) if both parties give prior consent to do so. Make sure that consent to electronic communication is in writing.
If a resident asks you to repair something which is not urgent, you should make the repair within 14 days. If you do not, the resident can apply to VCAT for an order requiring you to carry out the repair.
A resident may engage a tradesperson to undertake urgent repairs to the limit of $2,500 where they have taken reasonable steps to get you to carry out the repairs, but you have not done so.
For more information about repairs in rooming houses, view Repairs in rental properties.
Entry rights to rooms
For information about your entry rights and obligations, view When a rooming house operator can enter a room.
For information about inspections, view Rooming house inspections.
Residents have a right to privacy, peace and quiet. This means that they must not unnecessarily disturb other residents.
You must also respect a resident’s right to privacy, peace and quiet.
Adding more residents to a room
For more information on adding more residents to a room, view Rooming houses - adding more people to a room.
For information about resolving disputes in a rooming house, view Resolving disputes.
For information on what to do when a resident fails to meet their legal obligations, view When a renter or rental provider breaks the law.
Violent situations in rooming houses
For information on what to do if a resident or visitor acts violently or puts anyone in danger, view Violent and dangerous behaviour - rooming houses.
Download our fact sheet for operators whose rooming house may include a resident affected by family violence:
For more information, view Family violence.
When a resident leaves
For information about a resident leaving a rooming house, view:
After a resident leaves the rooming house, the resident and operator must decide what to do with any bond repayments or goods left behind.
For more information, view:
Closing a rooming house
To find out about closing a rooming house and ending a licence, view Closing a rooming house.
Resources for rooming house operators
The Registered Accommodation Association of Victoria (RAAV) has a handbook and brochure for rooming house operators summarising your legal obligations. To download these resources, visit RAAV.
For information on your business rights and responsibilities under the Australian Consumer Law, view: