What is a rooming/boarding house?

A rooming house is a building or dwelling that is used to accommodate people for payment. Typically, unrelated people rent a room in the building, and they usually share a bathroom, kitchen, laundry facilities and living areas. The landlord does not usually live on the premises. Rooming houses are increasingly being used by long-term homeless people or those in housing crisis.

Historically, rooming houses and boarding houses were an appealing form of housing in the inner suburbs, typically used by people who travelled frequently. Over time, the appeal has declined.

Today, rooming houses are a form of housing for people who struggle to access mainstream housing (e.g. buying a home, renting a private home, as well as accessing public housing). There is an emerging form of smaller rooming houses that usually operate for profit in family homes. Often, the owner will subdivide bedrooms and perhaps even living areas to increase the number of rooms that can be rented. This type of rooming house has started to emerge in middle and outer suburban areas in response to declining housing affordability.

These rooming houses are usually run by private investors. There is also a smaller proportion of rooming houses that are built and run by Community Housing Providers with funding support from the Victorian Government.

Why is Council looking at rooming houses and shared or group housing?

Council recognises that rooming houses and shared or group housing provide an alternative form of accommodation for people who cannot access mainstream housing (i.e. purchase their own home or secure private rental housing). Council is especially interested in circumstances where the housing choices for typically vulnerable people in the community are at risk (e.g. low income families, single parents, pensioners, young people, people with long term health concerns and people who are unemployed).

Council has requirements under planning, building and heath-related legislation to ensure that these types of facilities are registered with Council and are compliant with building and health regulations. In some circumstances, larger types of facilities also require a planning permit. Council will also identify further objectives on the appropriate location, design, scale and quality of rooming houses and shared or group housing in Casey to improve the quality of these housing options for individuals.

What is being reviewed?

Council is reviewing the Casey Housing Diversity Statement 2011. The Housing Diversity Statement encourages the development industry to provide a range of housing types in new developments, particularly one and two bedroom homes and homes that include accessible features for a person who has limited or impaired mobility. The Housing Diversity Statement is being reviewed to include a focus on providing more equitable and diverse options for housing in Casey, particularly for vulnerable communities.

What is the Casey Housing Diversity Statement 2011?

The Casey Housing Diversity Statement was adopted by Council in January 2011 to encourage the development industry to provide a range of housing types in new developments, particularly smaller homes with one or two bedrooms and homes that include accessible features, which are often costly to alter for a person who has limited or impaired mobility.

Council will be reviewing the Casey Housing Strategy in the 2012-13 financial year. In the long-term, the objectives of the Casey Housing Diversity Statement will be merged into the new Housing Strategy.

What is the Rooming House Policy?

Council is currently preparing a policy that will focus on shared or group housing in Casey. The policy is currently known as the Rooming House Policy.

Shared or group housing can include rooming houses, emergency/crisis housing, student housing and hostels. The primary form of shared or group housing in Casey is rooming houses.

The Rooming House Policy will look at streamlining Council's processes to enforce rooming houses, will identify objectives for preferred location, size and design of rooming houses in Casey and will look at the housing options available to people who cannot buy their own home or cannot secure a private rental home.

How can I get involved?

There are a number of ways you can get involved including:

  • Commenting on the Casey Conversations online forum.
  • Participate in the Housing Diversity Survey. You can complete the survey online or you can request a hard copy in English or other languages by contacting Council's Strategic Development Department on 9705 5200.
  • If you have lived in shared or group housing, or have experienced homelessness, we would like to hear your story. If you would like to participate please contact Council's Strategic Development Department on 9705 5200 or by email stratdev@casey.vic.gov.au.

How can I find out more?

There are a number of ways you can find out more, including:

  • Visit the Housing Section on Council's website, where you will be able to find out more information and follow the progress of policy development.
  • New editions of the Casey's Housing Policy Update will be released with each milestone of the policy development. You can view all editions on the Housing Section of Council's website.
  • Join our mailing list to receive all relevant information via email. To join the mailing list please contact Council's Strategic Development Department on 9705 5200, or by email stratdev@casey.vic.gov.au.

How do I provide comment?

Only registered users of this site are able to make comments and contribute to discussion forums - Community Conversations. To register, simply click on the Sign Up box at the top right of the page and enter your details.

What happens next?

The Housing Diversity Survey closes on 31 January 2012. Feedback from the survey will be considered in the review of the Casey Housing Diversity Statement, which will commence after the survey closes.

Council is finalising stakeholder consultation for the Rooming House Policy and preparing a Key Issues/Discussion Paper, which is anticipated to be completed by March 2012.