Rooming Houses

Rooming Houses

What is a Rooming House?

Under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 a rooming house is a building where:

  • One or more rooms is available for rent.
  • The total number of people who may occupy those rooms is four or more.
  • Residents rent a room and may share communal facilities such as bathrooms and toilets.
  • Different rental agreements can exist for different residents.

It is possible that you are a rooming house operator without even realising it; for example, if you rent out one or more rooms in your own house to four or more people.

As a rooming house operator, you will need to know about a range of laws covering property management, building maintenance, essential safety measures and systems, and residential management.

Consumer Affairs Victoria (C.A.V.) has developed a guide to help you understand the laws that apply to rooming houses. Downloaded a copy below.

Legal classification of rooming houses

A rooming house can fall into two categories, a small rooming house (Class 1b) or a large rooming house (Class 3). It is important that you work out the right category for your rooming house.

While rooming houses are covered by the legislation and regulations, they may be applied differently depending on the category your building is in.


Small Rooming House – Class 1b (BCA)

  • Up to 12 unrelated residents.
  • A total floor area of not more than 300 square metres.
  • Download Council's ‘Requirements for Class 1b Dwelling Accommodation'.
  • Large Rooming House – Class 3
  • 13 or more unrelated residents.
  • A total floor area greater than 300 square metres.

A building permit is required for a rooming house and they must also be registered with Council's Environmental Health Department.

Should you wish to establish and register a Rooming House please contact Councils Building and Health Departments.

PDFRooming House Operator's Guide (247 KB)

Last Updated: 27-06-2011

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