Rooming Houses

What is a Rooming House?

Rooming houses (sometimes referred to also as boarding houses) generally provide housing for single people, particularly receiving low income or facing other disadvantages may find it difficult to access other private rental housing or who prefer to live in a rooming house environment for social contact. Many of the private rooming houses in Port Phillip have been changing their focus, similar to other shared accommodation provision across Victoria, and have instead been increasingly accommodating international students and workers.

Rooming house accommodation traditionally involves residents renting bedrooms (rather than self-contained flats/units) and the use of shared common facilities such as bathrooms, lounges, kitchens, dining areas and laundries. Increasingly rooming houses include partially or fully self-contained bed sitters/studio units, including some who may offer one-bedroom units.

Rooming houses can be either privately owned and managed or publicly owned community housing managed by a Registered Housing Association or Housing Provider.

While both can target low-income tenants, private rooming houses tend to be run on a for-profit basis as a business, often with on-site managers, and have a mix of short-term tenancies (including people coming off the street and sometimes some backpackers) and long-term tenancies. Their rents are usually based on market rates.

Community-based (public) rooming houses operate on a not-for-profit basis, generally focus on longer-term housing, are more careful with tenant selection, and do not use on-site managers. The Registered Housing Association or Registered Housing Providers operating in Port Phillip are

  • Southport Community Housing Group Inc
  • St Kilda Community Housing Pty Ltd 
  • HousingFirst Ltd
  • YWCA 
  • Community Housing Ltd.

Who regulates rooming houses

All rooming houses catering for four or more people must be formally registered under the under the Victorian Public Health & Wellbeing Act 2008. Registration and further general information can be obtained from Council's Health Services Unit on 9209 6292 or refer to the Prescribed Accommodation page. You can check if a rooming house is registered -


Tenants and Landlords have rights and responsibilities that are set out within State Residential Tenancies legislative requirements 

There are further requirements for operators and owners of rooming houses within the rooming house operators licensing scheme, established under the Rooming House Operators Act 2016, which came into effect on 26 April 2017.

The Business Licensing Authority (BLA) within the Department of Justice and Community Safety is responsible for granting licences to applicants who are 'fit and proper persons'. .

Rooming Houses in Port Phillip

The City of Port Phillip supports the retention of rooming houses through strategies such as:

  • Encouraging the retention of existing private rooming houses
  • Encouraging the provision of new, registered private rooming houses
  • Facilitating and supporting new community managed self-contained community housing that houses similar persons to those who live in rooming houses
  • Responding to any sales or closures of rooming houses to assist people to find alternative accommodation

Contact Details for Registered Housing Associations and Housing Providers in Port Phillip in Port Phillip

To apply for rooming house accommodation please apply for the Victorian Housing Register

HousingFirst Ltd

L3 / 492 St Kilda Road

Melbourne 3004

Tel: 9534 5837

St. Kilda Community Housing  Ltd
102 St Kilda Road, St Kilda  
Tel: 9534 1809

Southport Community Housing Group Inc
259 Dorcas Street Sth Melbourne  
Tel: 9696 1128


Level 1, 210 Kingsway South Melbourne

Tel. 8341 8700

Community Housing Ltd
9 Prospect Street, Box Hill  
Tel: 9856 0050

Contact us or use eServices to ask us a question, request information or give us feedback online about rooming houses. If you prefer phone ASSIST on (03) 9209 6777 and ask for the Housing Development Officer.


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