The establishment of the Rooming House Standards Taskforce was announced by the Victorian Premier, John Brumby MP, on 15 July 2009 as part of the State Government’s strategy to take “action on those predatory operators of intentionally sub-standard rooming houses who prey on some of the most vulnerable members of our community”.
There is increasing evidence that in response to Melbourne’s tight rental market, a new model of for-profit rooming house provider has emerged. In this model operators convert suburban houses to accommodate larger numbers of people and run multiple premises.
Of particular concern as this model grows is a significant subset of providers in this growth sector who are operating outside the current registration and regulatory regimes and exploiting vulnerable groups in urgent need of affordable or emergency accommodation. Much of the effort of the Taskforce has been focused on developing a better understanding of this “rogue” section of the market, the conditions which have allowed it to blossom and the types of intervention which government could consider to bring poor performing operators to a higher level of professionalism.
The report which follows outlines the rooming house sector in Victoria, the profile of residents, the problems with private rooming houses and describes a plan for action in the rooming house industry around the key terms of reference of the Taskforce which were:
- Compliance and enforcement