Minimum standards for rooming houses - Vic

More and more investors are seeing rooming houses as great ways to increase their rental yield.

There are minimum standards that landlords need to be aware of before they start operating a rooming house.

The following information has been sourced from the Victorian Law Handbook (https://www.lawhandbook.org.au/2019_06_01_06_during_the_tenancy/)

RealRenta landlords can use the platform to automatically manage each tenancy- just add each room as a new address on the platform.:

Rooming houses are prescribed accommodation under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations2009 (Vic), which provide for minimum standards (regs 17–27) regarding the:

number of people who can be accommodated in one room;

minimum room size;

maintenance and cleanliness of the rooms and common areas;

supply and quality of hot and cold water;

discharge of sewage and wastewater;

provision of vermin-proof refuse receptacles;

number of toilets and bathrooms per person.

A rooming house must be registered with its local council. It is an offence to not register a rooming house and to not comply with any of the minimum standards. Local government authorities, normally Environment Health Officers, can investigate breaches.

A rooming house owner must also ensure that rooms, services and common areas comply with the minimum standards set out in the Residential Tenancies (Rooming House Standards) Regulations 2012(Vic) (reg120A).

The standards outline detailed minimum standards for amenity in rooming houses relating to privacy, security and safety.

According to these standards a room must have:

a door that is operated by a key from the outside and able to be unlocked from the inside without a key (reg6);

at least two working electrical power outlets (reg7);

window coverings on all windows that can be opened and closed by the resident and gives the resident privacy (reg8);

external windows (if any) of the rooming house that can be opened must be securely fixed in a closed or open position without a key (reg19).

According to these standards, a rooming house must have the following:

a shared bathroom or toilet must be fitted with a privacy latch that can be securely latched from inside without using a key (reg10);

a number of chairs equal to the maximum number of residents, and a table that can comfortably fit those chairs (reg12);

a communal laundry trough with a continuous and adequate supply of hot and cold water, with a space next to the trough for a washing machine, and outlets for hot and cold water (reg13);

a clothesline or other drying facilities (reg13);

adequate ventilation for rooms, bathrooms, showers, toilets and laundry (reg17); and

adequate lighting for rooms, hallways and corridors that is appropriate for those rooms (reg18).

A rooming house must provide in either the residents room or common area:

a food preparation area (reg11(a));

a sink (reg11(b));

one oven that is in good working order for every 12 residents or maximum capacity of residents in the rooming house (reg11(c));

a cooktop with at least four burners that is in good working order, per 12 residents or maximum capacity of residents in the rooming house, if the cooktop is in the common area (reg11(d));

a fridge with minimum gross capacity of 80 litres in a room, or 400 litres in common area (reg11(e));

not less than one cupboard of 0.1 cubicmetres for each resident, and that this cupboard is lockable if located in the common area (reg11(f)).

A rooming house must:

at least once every two years, have a gas safety check of all gas installations and fittings performed by a licenced gas fitter (reg19), and keep a register of the gas fitters who have performed the check (reg23);

at least once every five years, have an electrical safety check by a licensed electrician of all electrical installations and fittings at the rooming house (reg20), and keep a register of the gas fitters who have performed the check (reg24);

have a compliant electrical safety switch and switchboard (reg16);

have a lock fitted to each entrance that is operated by a key from the outside and can be unlocked from the inside without a key, and each entry must have a window, peephole or intercom and adequate lighting to allow screening of visitors and safe access to the rooming house (reg22).

Jason Gwerder
Thursday, 2 January 2020

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