State Trustees Welcomes New Protections for Victoria’s Most Vulnerable

State Trustees has welcomed a new Bill introduced in Victorian Parliament last week, which will help protect some of Victoria’s most vulnerable residents from unscrupulous rooming house operators.

State Trustees, which counts thousands of rooming house residents among its clients, commended the Bill that covers any building where rooms can be rented, with four or more tenants.

This new legislation will help to protect residents from operators who are not acting in the best interests of the occupants, by requiring that operators demonstrate that they are a “fit and proper” person before being granted a licence.

State Trustees CEO, Craig Dent, said this Bill was critical in helping Victoria’s vulnerable residents get back on their feet.

“Many of the residents in rooming houses are rebuilding their lives after an adverse event. If they are bullied, harassed, over-charged or over-crowded, it makes it even more challenging for them to succeed”.

“We are pleased that the Victorian Government is focused on increasing accountability and transparency with only licenced operators who meet the standards being able to manage rooming houses. State Trustees are in a privileged position, supporting approximately 10,000 of Victoria’s most vulnerable, but we are restricted in the scope of our role and all too often our clients ability to make the most of their lives is adversely impacted by their living conditions. We wholeheartedly agree that everyone deserves a safe and secure place to live,” he said.

The new legislation will mean that operators will be refused a licence if they have been convicted of a serious crime – or have been bankrupt or insolvent – in the past 10 years, or have been found to breach rooming house laws in the past five years. The legislation will also apply harsh penalties on any rooming house operating without a licence.