Property owners with shared accommodation investments have been told to meet new standards or face immediate fines of up to $2,800 in one state.
Consumer Affairs Victoria will soon have the power to issue on-the-spot fines under new regulations, if rooming houses are not kept up to legislated standards for bedrooms and common areas and facilities, such as bathrooms and laundry rooms.
This change to on-the-spot fines means that rooming house inspectors will no longer have to pursue breaches through the court system, according to the minister for Consumer Affairs, Michael O’Brien.
"The Victorian Coalition Government is committed to protecting the rights of residents and has created a suite of new standards to improve rooming house conditions," Mr O'Brien said.
"Under this new penalty regime, a clear breach of the minimum standards can be met by immediate fines of as much as $2,800 per breach, if bedrooms, common areas and facilities are not properly maintained.”
The new rooming house minimum standards, introduced this year, will be actioned on 31 March 2013 under the Residential Tenancies (Rooming House Standards) Regulations 2012.
Minimum standards include anything from required locks, number of power outlets, cleanliness, front entrance standards, fire evacuation plans, ventilation and lighting.
During 2011/2012 more than 600 rooming house inspections were conducted by Consumer Affairs Victoria.