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Rooming houses

Are you considering renting out rooms in your house for accommodation? If so, special building regulations may apply and you may require a building permit.

What is a rooming house?

A rooming house is a building, usually a house in a residential area, where one or more rooms is available for rent and where the number of people occupying the property is four or more. Residents will have exclusive possession of their own room and the right to share common areas like kitchens, bathrooms and loungerooms with other residents.

In our area, it is most often seasonal workers from overseas and from Australia who live in this type of accommodation, due to their short-term needs and the affordability of rooming houses.

Requirements for registration

Rooming houses must meet a range of Health, Building and Planning rules. Some examples are below but you should download the full requirements and contact Council to discuss your individual property and these regulations.

Rooming house operators must be licensed with Consumer Affairs Victoria.

For example, rooming houses MUST:

  • Be registered with Council’s Public Health Services Department.
  • Provide a clean-living environment, including adequate ventilation, continuous and adequate hot and cold water supply, clean drinking water, regular rubbish collection, adequate sewerage and water discharge, and vermin-proof bins that are emptied regularly.
  • Provide at least one toilet, one bath/shower and one wash basin for every 10 people
  • Comply with regulated room sizes, based on number of occupants and length of stay
  • Comply will Local Laws around use of caravans in residential areas
  • Have appropriate Building Permits
  • Have the regulated number of stand-alone, hard-wired smoke alarms, and other fire safety measures

For a more detailed rooming house regulations please download:


Council officers will initially work with owners/proprietors to achieve compliance. However, where necessary, might need to use a number of enforcement options. This includes issuing of orders/notices to upgrade safety measures of the building, prohibit occupation and remedy and breaches of standards under the Public Health and Wellbeing Regulations, the Planning Scheme and the Building Act 1993. Council may also serve an infringement notice or offences, including operating an unregistered business.

To talk about your property or report a potential rooming house contact
Public Health Services
Phone: (03) 5036 2591



Fees and charges

Building permit fees are to be paid upon lodgement of your building permit application.

Please contact the Building Department for advice on the building permit fees.
Building Department
Phone: (03) 5036 2396

Building inspections

Inspections are an important and mandatory part of the permit process.

The following compulsory inspections are required for all new building work:

  • Before placing footing (foundation excavations, stump holes, slab steel reinforcement)
  • Before pouring an in-situ reinforced concrete member
  • Completion of framework (sub-floor frame through to roof structure)
  • During the carrying out of building work specified required by Regulation 172 (fire & smoke resisting building elements)
  • Final inspection on completion of all building work (before occupation and/or use of the building)
Arrange a building inspections by contacting our building department during office hours. Please quote your building permit number. A minimum of 24 hours notice is needed.
Building Department
Phone: (03) 5036 2396

Essential Safety Measures maintenance

Occupiers of accommodation buildings of Class 1b must maintain the following:

  • Smoke detectors
  • All exits in the building or place
  • Any paths of travel to exits in the building or place
  • Any paths of travel on the allotment from exits in the building or place to a road – required to be provided in relation to that building or place are kept readily accessible, functional and clear of obstructions so that egress from the building or place is maintained

If your building was constructed or altered after 1 July, 1994, all essential safety measures will be listed on your Occupancy Permit. This permit will also detail the level and frequency required for this maintenance.

For buildings constructed before 1 July, 1994, any essential safety measure installed in the building must be maintained to ensure it functions properly.

The Victorian Building Authority’s Essential Safety Measures Maintenance Manual sets out all the requirements and responsibilities of property owners.

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