Rooming house - minimum standards (2022)

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A rooming house is a property where four or more people can occupy the rented rooms, and each has their own residential agreement.

Rooming house operators must comply with minimum standards relating to privacy, security, safety and amenity.

The minimum standards apply to a rooming house and its rooms whether or not the resident has a rooming house agreement or an individual rental agreement.

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We have also listed good practice guidance for operators so they can ensure their rooming house meets high standards. Operators are strongly encouraged to meet these higher standards.

On this page:

  • Minimum standards
  • Exemptions from minimum standards
  • Good practice guidance
  • Public health and wellbeing standards
  • Keeping safety inspection records
  • If a rooming house does not meet standards
  • What is a rooming house

Minimum standards

Residents’ rooms – minimum standards

In a resident’s room, the following standards must be met:

  • any door used to enter or exit from a resident’s room must be fitted with a lock that is operated by a key from the outside, and can be unlocked from inside without a key.
  • a resident’s room must have at least two workingsafe power outlets
  • windows in a resident’s room must have a covering that provides privacy and can be opened and closed by the resident.

Bathrooms – minimum standards

A shared bathroom or toilet:

  • must be fitted with a privacy latch that can be securely latched from the inside without a key.

Kitchens – minimum standards

Each resident must have access to and use of food preparation facilities. These can be provided in the resident’s room or as a shared kitchen.

If these facilities are in a resident’s room, they must include a:

  • food preparation area
  • sink
  • oven and cook-top in good working order
  • refrigerator with at least 80 litres capacity
  • cupboard with a minimum 0.1 cubic metres (100 litres) of storage capacity.

A shared kitchen must have a:

  • food preparation area
  • sink
  • an oven and a cook-top with four burners in good working order for every 12 or fewer residents who do not have an oven or cook-top in their room
    • an oven and a cook-top with four burners in good working order for every 12 or fewer residents who do not have an oven or cook-top in their room
  • refrigerator with at least 400 litres capacity
  • a lockable cupboard for each resident, with a minimum 0.1 cubic metres (100 litres) of storage capacity.

Dining facilities in a common area – minimum standards

In common area dining facilities, there must be:

  • Enough chairs to accommodate the maximum number of residents that can occupy a resident’s room. For example, if the room with the most occupants has three residents, the dining room must have three chairs.
  • A table that can comfortably fit this number of chairs.

Shared laundries – minimum standards

Rooming house operators must provide shared laundry facilities. There must be one set of the following communallaundry facilities:

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  • a wash trough or basin connected to a continuous and adequate supply of hot and cold water
  • space with hot and cold water supply outlets suitable for a washing machine immediately next to the trough or basin
  • a clothes line or other clothes drying facility.

General minimum standards

General standards include:

  • an evacuation diagram that complies with section 3.5 and Appendix E of AS 3745 must be prominently displayed in each resident’s room and in all shared areas. Download an example evacuation diagram (Word, 592KB). You must ensure that your diagram is compliant.
  • internal rooms, corridors and hallways must have a level of natural or artificial light appropriate to the function and use of the room.
  • habitable rooms must have access to natural light during daylight hours, and artificial light during non-daylight hours, appropriate to the function and use of the room.
  • habitable rooms, bathrooms, shower rooms, toilets and laundries must have ventilation that complies with the relevant Building Code of Australia (see section 17 of the Regulations).
  • all gas installations and fittings must be checked at least once every two years by a licensed gas fitter
  • all electrical installations and fittings must be checked at least once every five years by a licensed electrician
  • all power outlets and electrical circuits must be connected to circuit breakers that comply with AS/NZS 3000 and switchboard-type residual current devices that comply with AS/NZS 3190, AS/NZS 61008.1 or AS/NZS 61009.1
  • each external window that is can be opened must be able to be securely closed or opened without a key
  • each rooming house entrance must have a lock operated by a key from outside and without a key from inside.
  • the main entry must have a window, peep-hole or intercom system, and a working external light that provides enough light during non-daylight hours to provide for safe access and screening visitors to the rooming house.

For more information, view Rooming house operators: meeting your gas and electrical safety obligations.

Exemptions from minimum standards

In exceptional circumstances, the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria may exempt a rooming house owner from some standards in the Regulations. The exemption may be unconditional or on specified conditions, and may be a total or limited exemption.

An exemption can only be granted when the rooming house owner:

  • is not able to modify the rooming house to comply with the relevant standards due to the nature, age or structure of the rooming house, or
  • is not able to modify the rooming house to comply with the relevant standards due to an obligation to comply with a competing law, or
  • has sufficiently addressed the relevant standards by other means.

An exemption will be denied if it poses an immediate threat to the safety of residents. To date, no rooming house owner in Victoria has been granted an exemption.

For further information about exemptions, please contact us via our General enquiry online form.

Good practice guidance

These guidelines will help rooming house operators achieve higher standards.

In residents’ rooms:

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  • the two working power outlets can be one double or two single power outlets, but not double adaptors orpowerboards
  • power outlets should not be inside cupboards
  • window coverings should be substantial enough to prevent anyone seeing into the room from the outside, including at night.

In bathrooms:

  • a privacy latch should be strong enough to not break easily.

In kitchens:

  • bottled gas camp stoves are not suitable as they are a fire hazard
  • cooking and preparation facilities should be located together
  • sinks should only be provided in bedrooms if kitchenette facilities are also provided; otherwise, a sink should be in the kitchen
  • an oven provided in a bedroom must be at least large enough to hold a full-size dinner plate or medium oven dish; toaster ovens may not meet this requirement
  • cooking facilities in bedrooms must be assessed for any fire safety risk
  • all refrigerators should have a freezer compartment
  • lockable cupboards should be separately keyed, and each resident should have their own key.

In the rooming house generally:

  • rooms should either have windows that open to allow enough air into the room, or an exhaust fan installed in the ceiling or wall, so there is adequate ventilation
  • adequate lighting for internal rooms generally means a person should be able to comfortably read a newspaper or magazine in the room
  • adequate lighting for corridors and hallways generally means people should be able to navigate these areas safely
  • the main entry should have enough external lighting to light the area outside the door, so residents can see who is knocking or ringing the doorbell.

Public health and wellbeing standards

Rooming houses must be registered with the local council. The council may inspect the rooming house to see if it meets the standards set out in the Public Health and Wellbeing (Prescribed Accommodation) Regulations 2020. These standards include (but are not limited to):

  • at least one toilet for every 10 people
  • at least one bath or shower and one washbasin for every 10 people
  • continuous and adequate supply of hot and cold water to all toilet, bathing, laundry, kitchen and drinking water facilities
  • rooms and communal areas in a clean and well maintained condition.

Rooming houses must have adequate and well-maintained hard-wired smoke alarms to protect residents. Refer to the Building Regulations 2018 for more information.

Keeping safety inspection records

Rooming house operators must ensure that regular gas and electrical safety checksare conducted and make the records available to the Director of Consumer Affairs Victoria and to the resident on request.

Gas and electrical safety check certificates can be lodged for each rooming house premises via myCAV as proof that you have complied with your obligations.

Reminder notifications will also be sent to a rooming house operator periodically to advise them to lodge the required safety check certificates.

  • A gas safety check must be done every two years. These records, including the compliance certificate and details of the licensed gas fitter who performed the check, must be kept for two years.
  • An electrical safety check must be done every five years. These records, including the compliance certificate and details of the licensed electrician who performed the check, must be kept for five years.

For any work done by a licensed gas fitter or electrician, the rooming house operator must be able to provide a current certificate of compliance.

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If a rooming house does not meet standards

If a resident thinks their rooming house does not meet the minimum standards, they should contact us.

If the issue they’ve identified is related to health and wellbeing standards, they should contact their local council.

For more information, search the Public register of rooming houses.

What is a rooming house

A rooming house is a building where four or more people can live in rented rooms, some of which might be shared.

The rooming house is managed by a rooming house operator and individual residents usually have separate agreements with the operator.

The operator can decide who can live in the property without consulting the residents.

In most rooming houses, residents share bathrooms, kitchens, laundries and other common areas. The rooming house operator and their family do not usually live in the property.

It is different to a share house, where everyone signs the same agreement.

You can read more about rooming house rentalagreements.

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Sections of the Act

If you want to know what the law says about minimum standards for rooming houses, you can read:

  • Residential Tenancies (Rooming House Standards) Regulations 2012.

FAQs

What is the meaning of rooming house? ›

A rooming house is a building where one or more rooms is available for occupancy by four or more people (in return for the payment of rent).

How many people can live in Victoria house? ›

The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 does not stipulate whether there is a maximum number of tenants / occupiers allowed in units, however, all occupants must be listed on the tenancy agreement. In regards to Owners Corporations, normally two adults per bedroom is realistic for normal living conditions.

What is a rooming house in Australia? ›

A rooming house is a property where four or more people can occupy the rented rooms, and each has their own residential agreement. Rooming house operators must comply with minimum standards relating to privacy, security, safety and amenity.

Do landlords have to provide ovens NZ? ›

Does my landlord have to provide a stove and oven for cooking? Yes. Your place must have a kitchen, and the kitchen must have an adequate means of preparing and cooking food. This includes both by boiling (so a stove top with elements) and by baking (an oven).

Which one of the following best describes a rooming house? ›

Rooming houses are better described as a "living arrangement" rather than a specially "built form" of housing; rooming houses involve people who are not related living together, often in an existing house, and sharing a kitchen, bathroom (in most cases), and in some cases a living room or dining room.

What's another word for rooming house? ›

What is another word for rooming house?
boarding housedigs
guesthouselodging house
residencequarters
placeabode
padhouse
59 more rows

How long can a tenant have guest stay Victoria? ›

Guests may stay a maximum of 14 days in a six-month period or 7 nights consecutively on the property. Any guest residing at the property for more than 14 days in a six-month period or spending more than 7 nights consecutively will be considered a tenant. This person must be added to the lease agreement.

What does maximum number of tenants mean? ›

This term refers to the maximum amount of people who will be living in the property, with the property being their main residence. This covers people who you may not usually include on a tenancy agreement, such as children.

How many occupants can you have in a one bedroom apartment? ›

There is no set formula for determining how many people can stay in a property of a given size, however when it comes to the number of bedrooms, the general rule of thumb is that one bedroom can accommodate a maximum of two people.

How much notice do I need to give a boarder? ›

Landlords giving notice

A boarding house landlord normally needs to give the tenant 28 days' written notice. There are some exceptions to this.

Is boarding house a business? ›

A boarding house business is one that can generate profits with sustained occupancy and proper maintenance. But this is also a product of serious attention to detail, market research and forecast, and of course leveraging that great location.

What is a general boarding house? ›

General boarding houses – accommodate five or more paying residents, excluding the proprietor, the manager and members of their families. General boarding houses do not include hotels, motels, backpackers' hostels, aged care homes or other types of premises excluded by the Act.

Can a landlord say no overnight guests NZ? ›

No they cannot. Even if your tenancy agreement has a clause saying you cannot have visitors without the landlord's permission, it would not be not enforceable because it would be a breach of your right to quiet enjoyment of the property.

Can a landlord look in my closet NZ? ›

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (the Act) does not specify how long an inspection shall be. A prudent landlord may conduct a thorough inspection, which may include checking cupboards for structural damage. Tenants can also expect to have quiet enjoyment of the premises.

Can you paint your rental NZ? ›

No, tenants don't need to paint the property unless they receive written permission from the landlord. A tenant must be ready to get their damage deposit deducted if they paint the rental property without consent from the landlord.

Who lives in a boarding house? ›

A boarding house is a house (frequently a family home) in which lodgers rent one or more rooms on a nightly basis, and sometimes for extended periods of weeks, months, and years. The common parts of the house are maintained, and some services, such as laundry and cleaning, may be supplied.

How many unrelated people can live in an apartment in Boston? ›

Changes the definitions in Articles 2 and 2A of the Boston zoning code, so that 5 or more unrelated undergraduates may not share an apartment.

Can a landlord stop you having visitors? ›

Your landlord has the right to know of everyone that will be living at the property, and can legally specify in the tenancy agreement that visitors can stay no longer than 1 week. Landlords cannot tell you that you can not have visitors that will be visiting for less than this period.

Do I have to tell my landlord if someone moves in with me? ›

Even if your lease or rental agreement doesn't have a specific requirement that the landlord must approve additional tenants, it's normally wise to notify your landlord before moving in another person.

Can my girlfriend live with me without being on the lease? ›

Can someone live with you without being on the lease? Yes, someone can live with the tenant without being on the lease. However, it is important to distinguish the difference between a guest and a long-term guest.

Can you have 5 joint tenants? ›

The following applies to joint tenancy and to tenancy in common. Up to four people can be named as legal owners. If there are more than four owners then ownership is through the device of a trust. The additional owners (and there can be any number) can be named as beneficiaries of the resulting trust for sale.

How many tenants should you have in a bathroom? ›

As a rule of thumb, you should be aiming for one bathroom per three tenants. You can have less but this is the sweet spot and ideally is what you should be going for.

Can there be more than 4 joint tenants? ›

More than four joint tenants

The maximum number of joint tenants that can own a legal interest in land is capped at four.

How many people should live in a room? ›

Roughly three people per bedroom is the general rule of thumb for occupancy.

How many bedrooms do you need for a family of 4? ›

If you have a family of four, with two children, you will probably require 4 bedrooms because each child may need their own room. Will your family grow further? If there is any possibility for additional children, you may want to consider planning ahead and selecting a house plan with a greater number of bedrooms.

How do you calculate maximum occupancy? ›

The number of people on the site can be calculated by dividing the total floor area of a proposed use by the minimum square feet per occupant requirement listed in the table. The maximum occupancy can then be divided by the size of the parcel in acres to determine the people per acre.

Can a boarder be kicked out? ›

Flatmates are not responsible to the landlord for the rent and the state of the property. Instead, they are responsible to the “head tenant” (in this case, Alistair) for their share of the rent. There is no law on what is reasonable notice to give someone to move out.

Do boarders have any rights? ›

This means you do not have rights and obligations under the RTA. rent a room in a boarding house that is not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 then you are a boarder and you do not have rights or obligations under the RTA.

How do I get rid of a tenant? ›

Depending on how desperate your situation is, you can try one or several of our ways to make a bad tenant leave.
  1. About Eviction. The lengthiest and costliest method to get rid of an unwanted tenant is eviction. ...
  2. Raise the Rent. ...
  3. Negotiate. ...
  4. Ask Them to Leave. ...
  5. Be Kind & Proactive. ...
  6. Offer Them Cash to Leave.
30 Mar 2020

Is rooming house a good investment? ›

Rooming Houses Investments are a great investment opportunity. In fact, they are arguably one of the best income-producing property investments available. The key advantage of rooming houses is the incredible yields that they can produce.

What do you call a person who runs a boarding house? ›

hotelier. noun. the owner or manager of a hotel.

Do boarding houses make money? ›

Are Boarding Houses Profitable? Generally, Boarding Houses give better returns than traditional residential properties. It is common for Boarding House investment property to return double (or sometimes more) the gross income for similarly priced residential real estate.

What is registrable boarding house? ›

There are two types of registrable boarding house: 'general boarding houses', and 'assisted boarding houses'. The Act provides for occupancy agreements between boarding house proprietors and residents, and gives the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT) power to deal with some disputes.

What is a new age boarding house? ›

New generation boarding house developments are a very different product. The rooms are typically self-contained with kitchenette and ensuite. They are eco-friendly built, come with Wi-Fi and other state of the art design and interiors.

How many boarding houses are there in NSW? ›

There were 1,062 registered boarding houses in NSW as of May 2019, according to the Department of Fair Trading.

Can landlord turn up unannounced NZ? ›

Landlords must give tenants at least 24 hours' notice before entering the property to do any necessary repairs or maintenance. These repairs should be done between 8am and 7pm. Landlords can also access the house to do work to comply, or prepare to comply, with the healthy homes standards.

Can your landlord turn up unannounced? ›

If your landlord comes in without permission

You have the right to live in your home without being disturbed unreasonably. This is sometimes called having a right to 'quiet enjoyment' of the property. It could be harassment if your landlord keeps turning up unannounced, or enters your home without notice or permission.

Can a landlord take pictures of your personal belongings NZ? ›

Yes, they can. Landlords and property managers have a lawful purpose to collect information about a rental property when they carry out a property inspection. The Privacy Act says an agency should only collect information for a lawful purpose and the collection of that information has to be necessary for that purpose.

Does a landlord have to provide curtains? ›

' it's highly common for a landlord to provide them, but it's not actually a legal requirement. Most landlords choose to do so because curtains and blinds often need to be made to measure and so it's something people tend to leave behind when moving house.

How often should carpet be replaced in a rental NZ? ›

Inland Revenue depreciation tables show that carpet in residential rental properties has an estimated life of 5, 8 or 15.5 years, depending on the type of carpet.

What is quiet enjoyment? ›

Quiet enjoyment means being able to enjoy reasonable peace, comfort and privacy, and allowing others to enjoy the same. Tenants have the right to the 'quiet enjoyment' of the house they rent. This means the landlord can't harass the tenant or interfere with their reasonable peace, comfort and privacy.

Can tenants put pictures? ›

That means you should almost always be able to hang up pictures and mirrors, or install baby-proofing equipment, without issue. It's worth asking your landlord first, but if they refuse your request you'll be able to push back (unless you're asking to knock down a wall or something).

Can tenants hang pictures on walls? ›

Yes – in most cases, tenants are allowed to hang pictures in rental properties. Most landlords will see hanging pictures as a 'minor' alteration to the property and permission is typically granted. However, you will need to discuss these alterations with your landlord prior to hanging anything on the walls.

Can you hang hooks in a rental? ›

Renters must get permission from their landlord or real estate agent before installing any hooks to hang pictures. Most landlords will consider picture hooks a “minor alteration” and permission is usually granted.

What is a rooming list for hotels? ›

The Rooming List: A roster of guests and their lodging needs presented to a hotel by a group prior to a meeting.

Who lives in a boarding house? ›

A boarding house is a house (frequently a family home) in which lodgers rent one or more rooms on a nightly basis, and sometimes for extended periods of weeks, months, and years. The common parts of the house are maintained, and some services, such as laundry and cleaning, may be supplied.

Are rooming houses legal in Massachusetts? ›

It is illegal to run a rooming house without a license. Having a license gives someone official permission to operate a dwelling as a rooming house. or more lodgers to have automatic sprinkler systems.

What is the meaning of dorm room? ›

Definition of dormitory

1 : a room for sleeping especially : a large room containing numerous beds. 2 : a residence hall providing rooms for individuals or for groups usually without private baths.

Why is rooming list important? ›

First, a rooming list helps streamline the check-in process for groups, giving venue staff an up-to-date total with corresponding names and room numbers. Your group will be grateful that you did the heavy lifting before their arrival, enabling them to grab a key and head straight to their room to unpack.

Why is rooming list necessary? ›

Hotels use the rooming list to not only assign the correct people to the same room, but they also use the rooming list as a blueprint for where the rooms should be located relative to each other. The order is important. Therefore, great consideration and care should be taken when filling out your rooming list.

What is Rooming a guest? ›

Rooming refers to allocating your guests to specific rooms. Rooming is generally done after the booking process, closer to the time of arrival. It's important to Room all your guests to ensure the lodge operations run smoothly and to avoid situations where you have to move guests to a different room during their stay.

What is the difference between renting and boarding? ›

People who live at a rental property but aren't named on a tenancy agreement are usually considered "flatmates". A "boarder" is someone who lives at a home with the owner.

What do you call a person who runs a boarding house? ›

hotelier. noun. the owner or manager of a hotel.

Is rooming house a good investment? ›

Rooming Houses Investments are a great investment opportunity. In fact, they are arguably one of the best income-producing property investments available. The key advantage of rooming houses is the incredible yields that they can produce.

Can a landlord enter without permission? ›

A landlord may not enter leased property without giving a tenant reasonable notice and then only to inspect the property, to make repairs to the property, to show the property to a prospective tenant, purchaser, mortgagee or its agent or if the property has been abandoned or having obtained a court order.

Do I need a permit to rent my house in Massachusetts? ›

Yes, a Rental Occupancy Permit is required if you wish to rent your house.

Can landlords enter your apartment without permission? ›

You are paying rent to the landlord for exclusive use as the property as your home and as such you have the right to decide who enters it and when. If a landlord enters your home without permission they are, technically, trespassing, unless they have a court order to allow them otherwise.

What's another word for dorm? ›

Synonyms of dorm
  • boardinghouse,
  • dormitory,
  • flophouse,
  • lodging house,
  • lodgment.
  • (or lodgement),
  • room(s),
  • rooming house.

How do dorms work? ›

Each floor in a dorm will usually have one or two bathrooms that all the people living on that floor share. Unlike apartments, most dorm rooms don't have kitchens. Dorm residents usually eat together in a large cafeteria area in the building or another building nearby.

What is a dormitory used for? ›

A dormitory (originated from the Latin word dormitorium, often abbreviated to dorm) is a building primarily providing sleeping and residential quarters for large numbers of people such as boarding school, high school, college or university students.

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