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Prescribed accommodation and rooming houses

Before you start a new prescribed accommodation business or buy an existing business you should be aware of the various requirements that apply under health, planning and building legislation and for some types of accommodation, legislative requirements that are enforced by Consumer Affairs Victoria.

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A proprietor of prescribed accommodation must register the accommodation with Council under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008.

The Public Health and Wellbeing (Prescribed Accommodation) Regulations 2020 outline the specific requirements that prescribed accommodation premises must meet including room size, toilet and bathing facilities and maintenance and cleanliness.

What is prescribed accommodation?

Any of the following:

  • rooming houses
  • residential accommodation
  • hotels and motels
  • hostels
  • student dormitories
  • holiday camps. 

I’m starting a new business

Before you start a new prescribed accommodation business you should discuss your proposal with one of our environmental health officers. Before you can begin operating your business you must be granted registration by Council. To do so you must first:

  • apply for registration with us
  • meet Public Health legal requirements
  • meet Building legal requirements
  • meet Planning legal requirements.

Call 9524 3333 to speak to an environmental health officer.

For more information, download our Guidelines for new or transferring prescribed accommodation businesses (PDF, 2Mb)

I’m buying an existing business

Before you buy an existing prescribed accommodation business, you should check if the business has current registration with us. The Public Health and Wellbeing Act registration for the premises must be transferred from the name of the current proprietor to your name before you take over its operation.

Call 9524 3333 to speak to an environmental health officer.

For more information, download our Guidelines for new or transferring prescribed accommodation businesses (PDF, 2Mb)

Rooming Houses

The Public Health and Wellbeing (Prescribed Accommodation) Regulations 2020 define a rooming house to mean a building where there is one or more rooms available to rent and there are four or more people who are occupying those rooms.

A rooming house operator must be licensed to operate as required by the Rooming House Operators Act 2016 before they start operating. Licence applications are determined by the Business Licensing Authority. You can apply for a licence online by visiting the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) also enforce legislative requirements set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 and minimum standards in the Residential Tenancies (Rooming House Standards) Regulations 2012 which relate to privacy, security, safety and amenity. To find out more about the requirements enforced by CAV visit the Running your business — rooming house operators webpage.

The Registered Accommodation Association of Victoria (RAAV) produced Running a better rooming house: A best practice handbook for operators. This hand book is an important resource for rooming house operators that explains best practice standards and how they can be implemented effectively. The handbook is available from RAAV website.

Common neighbourhood concerns

You may not realise there is a rooming house operating in your street — most rooming houses are well maintained and do not cause concerns for local residents. However, like any property in a residential area, you may experience some concerns relating to noise, rubbish and anti-social behaviour. It is recommended that you have a good relationship with the rooming house operator to be able to communicate any issues that you may experience.

We developed Rooming House information to assist the local community to better understand rooming houses and the different agencies that regulate them.

Download our Rooming House information (49Kb)

Rooming House Strategy 

We developed the Rooming House Strategy 2019 in response to the complex regulatory framework for rooming houses, community concerns and the need to house vulnerable groups in our community. The Strategy outlines major issues with the operation of a rooming house and sets out actions we will take to address these.

The action plan includes improvements we will make to regulation and enforcement of rooming houses and where we will advocate for improvements by other responsible agencies.

Download our Rooming House Strategy 2019 (PDF, 643Kb)


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