Rooming house shonks on notice

ROOMING house operators in Hume could face on-the-spot fines of up to $2800 if they fail to keep accommodation clean and safe for occupants.
Nanjing Night Net

Last week, Consumer Affairs Victoria said new regulations meant failure to meet the minimum standards for bedrooms, communal areas and facilities could be dealt with on the spot rather than only through the courts.

Hume has 11 rooming houses registered with the council.

Authorities have welcomed the new regulations.

UnitingCare Sunshine and Broadmeadows (UCSB) chief executive Joy Nunn said, anecdotally, rooming houses were of poor standard, crowded and costly.

“Depending upon the quality of accommodation, rooming houses could provide a suitable environment,” she said.

“But those that UCSB is advised of by many clients would not likely be accommodation that’s deemed suitable.”

The minimum standards required of rooming houses include providing adequate kitchen amenities, and rooms, bathrooms and toilets with locks on doors for privacy and safety.

Ms Nunn said low-income earners were more likely to live in rooming houses.

“Generally, those people who are vulnerable or marginalised in our community have more experience with rooming houses,” she said.

“Rental accommodation costs are high so [those on] low incomes and receiving benefits are often rooming house tenants.”

Hume Council spokesman Michael Sinclair said rooming houses were often developed without a permit.

“They also commonly fail to register the rooming house with council in accordance with health legislation.”

The rooming house minimum standards come into force on March 31 next year.