Applicants are required to tell the Authority if any relevant person involved in the labour hire business intends to procure or provide accommodation in connection with the labour hire service. Essentially, the Authority wants to know about accommodation that the applicant has or will take steps to obtain, or to supply.
‘Minimum accommodation standards’ is defined in section 3 of the Labour Hire Licensing Act 2018 (Vic.). These are standards of accommodation required by or under any of the following:
- the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic.)
- the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic.)
- the Rooming House Operators Act 2016 (Vic.)
- the Planning and Environment Act 1987(Vic.)
- the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic.)
- a prescribed provision of a law of Victoria, the Commonwealth, another State or a Territory
- prescribed accommodation standards (however described)
to the extent that those standards relate to accommodation for workers and include standards of accommodation required by or under regulations or instruments made under an Act or provision referred to in any of the above.
You can access up to date versions of the above legislation by clicking on ‘Victorian Law Today’, selecting ‘Acts’ and searching by name or by browsing the list of Acts by letter at the Victorian Legislation and Parliamentary Documents website.
You should ensure that that you are familiar with your obligations in relation to the provision of accommodation to workers. For example:
- If the accommodation that you provide or procure is required to be registered as ‘prescribed accommodation’ under the Public Health and Wellbeing Act 2008 (Vic.), then the accommodation must be registered with the relevant local council and comply with the standards required under that scheme, including but not limited to:
- overcrowding – there are limits on the number of persons that can be accommodated in a room depending on the room size and duration of stay
- maintenance – the accommodation must be in good working order, in a clean, sanitary and hygienic condition, and in good state of repair
- cleanliness – the premises, any bedrooms and the linen provided must be cleaned regularly and between people accommodating the premises
- minimum toilet and bathing facilities – 1 toilet, 1 bath and/or shower and 1 wash basin for every 10 persons, or fraction of that number occupying the accommodation.
As prescribed accommodation is regulated by local councils, you can generally find further information about what is considered prescribed accommodation, the process for registering, and the required standards on the relevant council website, however some general information is also provided on the Australian Business Licence and Information Service (ABLIS) website.
- If the accommodation that you provide or procure is required to be registered as a ‘rooming house’ under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic.) and Rooming House Operators Act 2016 (Vic.), then the operator of the rooming house must be licensed, the accommodation must be registered with the relevant local council and the accommodation must comply with the additional standards that apply to rooming houses, including but not limited to:
- maintenance – the rooming house, rooms, facilities, furniture and equipment provided by the rooming house operator must be maintained in good repair
- fire evacuation diagram – rooming house operator must have an evacuation diagram in each resident’s room and all common areas, such as the kitchen and loungeroom, that complies with the relevant requirements
- door locks – entrances to the rooming house and doors to each resident’s room must be fitted with locks that can be unlocked with a key from the outside but can be unlocked without one from the inside
- gas safety check – a gas safety check must be conducted at least once every 2 years by a licensed gasfitter of all gas installations and fittings at the rooming house
- electrical safety check – an electrical safety check must be conducted at least once every 5 years by a licensed electrician of all electrical installations and fittings at the rooming house.
Rooming houses are regulated by both Consumer Affairs Victoria and local councils. You can find out more information about rooming houses, how to apply for a licence, and the standards that apply by visiting the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
- If the accommodation you provide or procure is subject to accommodation standards under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic.), then you must comply with those standards if you are the also the rental provider. General standards include:
- maintenance – a rental provider must ensure that the rented premises are maintained in good repair
- locks – a rental provider must provide locks for all windows that can be locked and dead latches to secure all external doors (or they must be fitted with locks that can be unlocked with a key from the outside but can be unlocked without one from the inside)
- clean condition – a rental provider must ensure rented premises are vacant and in reasonably clean condition on the day the renter is to take possession.
- If the accommodation is provided or procured in accordance with the terms of a residential rental agreement (formerly known as a tenancy agreement) formed after 29 March 2021, rental minimum standards further apply. The standards include, but are not limited to:
- structural soundness – the rented premises must be structurally sound and weatherproof
- gas and electrical safety – under most circumstances, a rental provider must ensure that gas and electricity safety checks are completed every 2 years by a licensed tradesperson of all relevant installations and fittings
- hot and cold water – kitchens, laundries and bathrooms must be connected to a reasonable supply of hot and cold water
- heating –a fixed heater (not portable) in good working order must be installed in the main living area of the rented premises
- ventilation – a rented premises must have adequate ventilation in all rooms including the bathroom, shower, toilet and laundry and all rooms must be free from mould and damp caused by or related to the building structure.
You can find out more information about rental minimum standards by visiting the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.
If the accommodation you provide is subject to accommodation standards under the Planning and Environment Act 1987 (Vic.), then you must comply with those standards if you are also the rental provider. For example, any accommodation you provide or procure should only be used in in a way that is consistent with the local council planning scheme and any change in the purpose of the building, or any building work done to the building complies with all planning requirements.
Where you are providing or procuring accommodation for workers who use the accommodation ‘in the course of employment’, you may also have general duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act 2004 (Vic.) to ensure the accommodation is safe and has adequate facilities.