Rooming houses and prescribed accommodation

Before you build, buy or operate a prescribed accommodation business you should be aware of the regulations.

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What is prescribed accommodation?

Any of the following:

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

When do you need to register with us?

You must register a prescribed accommodation business when there are four or more residents (not including the owner's family).

Our role

Our environmental health officers inspect prescribed accommodation businesses to ensure they operate in accordance with the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 and the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations 2009

Building a new prescribed accommodation business

Before you start building a new prescribed accommodation businesses, you must:

  • register with us
  • meet Public Health legal requirements
  • meet Building legal requirements
  • meet Planning legal requirements.

This table offers a simple guide for who to contact:

Number of Proposed Occupants Building Department Public Health Department
Building will accommodate less than 4 people Required ✔ Not applicable ✖
Building will accommodate 4 or more people with 10 or less habitable rooms Required ✔ Required ✔
Building will accommodate 4 or more people with 11 or more habitable rooms Required ✔ Required ✔

*Please consult with Urban Planning for the use of the land to determine if planning approval is required prior to commencing the use or carrying out any works.

Buying an existing business

Before you purchase a prescribed accommodation business, you should: 

  • check if the business has current registration with us
  • request a pre-transfer inspection of the business.

If you're buying an existing business, you must transfer its registration into your name or your company's name.

Running your business

Before you can operate a rooming house you must meet the requirements of the Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV) rooming house operators licensing scheme, which came into effect on 26th April 2017.

The scheme outlines requirements related to:

  • using the new my CAV online application system
  • new and existing rooming house operators
  • rooming house managers
  • building owners
  • refusal and review of an application
  • fees
  • other relevant areas.

For more information, download our Guidelines for new and transferring prescribed accommodation businesses (PDF, 222KB).

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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