Affordable Housing Solution: Rooming Houses
The housing affordability crisis has reached a whole new level these past few years. It has become so alarming that even quite a number of nonprofit organizations all over the world have already stepped in to help out. For example, in America, communal housing is now being considered a way to address this problem even though the model was rejected in the past.
Unaffordable housing is caused by so many factors—but it’s the property prices that have really made it impossible for first-time owners to go through with it. Fortunately, rooming houses are developed to give people a chance for affordable and safe accommodation. In Australia, particularly in Victoria, it is recognized as a form of temporary accommodation for those who cannot afford to purchase a home. Rooming houses are quite similar to Airbnb; one or more rooms are available for rental and around four or more people may occupy.
There are minimum standards to follow for operators. The Residential Tenancies Regulations 2012 pertains to the “privacy, security, safety, and amenity” in these rooming houses. Here are some important information regarding the Rooming House Standards and a brief explanation.
ROOMS & BATHROOMS
Under the standards, operators must ensure that the residents’ rooms follow the following:
- Both entry and exit doors must have a lock that can be operated from outside and at the same time, can be locked from the inside even without a key.
- Two working power outlets for each room.
- Each room should have privacy with window covering to open or close
- Shared bathrooms are required to have a privacy latch that can be secured from the inside even without a key.
KITCHEN & DINING AREA
- Residents are required to have access to the facilities where they can prepare their food.
- If the kitchen is inside the room, it must have the following: sink, working oven and food top, refrigerator (80 liters capacity), and food preparation area;
- For the shared kitchen, the requirements are the same except the refrigerator has to have 400 liters capacity, plus the oven and food top must have four burners for more residents.
- As for the dining area, tables and chairs must be enough to accommodate the residents.
- There must be a continuous supply of hot and cold water.
- There should be outlets that are suitable for washing machine use;
- A clothes drying area for the residents’ clothes
- Safety checks are important and owners/operators must conduct this regularly;
- By request, the records must be made available to the Director of Consumers Affairs Victoria.
- There should be a gas safety check done every 2 years;
- The electrical gas safety check is also required to be made every 2 years
If any resident doesn’t think that the standards are not met by the rooming house, the local council must be contacted immediately.
For a more detailed list of standards, refer to this article: