Key messages

  • A proprietor must have Department of Health & Human Services approval before starting a supported residential services (SRS) business or taking over ownership of an existing SRS.
  • Prospective proprietors must lodge a complete registration application with the department.
  • Current proprietors must lodge applications for the department to approve a change of director, the appointment of a manager, and the cancellation of registration.

Before an SRS can operate, the premises must be registered with the department and the business owner (proprietor) must hold a Certificate of Registration.

Once a complete application is received, the department assesses the suitability of:

  • the premises ‒ see the National Construction Code 2015 and Supported residential services design guidelines for new registrations
  • the proprietor (their skills, financial capacity, operational arrangements, business plan).

Registration of premises not registered as an SRS

When the premises are ready, or nearly ready, a proprietor can apply for registration. The department assesses if the proprietor is suitable under the criteria in the SRS Act and Regulations, for example whether:

  • they have the relevant skills and knowledge, and are a suitable person to operate an SRS
  • they have the financial capacity to operate the SRS
  • they have the relevant arrangements in place to operate the SRS
  • the building and site are suitable for use as an SRS
  • they have the relevant permits to use the premises as an SRS.

A positive assessment means the department will register the premises and give the proprietor a Certificate of Registration that will enable them to run an SRS from those premises.

The Assessing SRS applications page explains more about the department’s assessment process.

Registration of premises registered as an SRS, for a change of ownership (sale or purchase)

If the proprietor of an existing registered SRS wants to sell the business to a prospective proprietor, the prospective proprietor must apply for registration and the existing proprietor must apply to cancel their registration.

The purchaser cannot run the business until the registration application has been approved and the contract of sale is settled.

The department uses the same criteria to assess an ownership change as for assessing a new registration, except for the criteria relating to premises suitability. However, it does require evidence that the appropriate planning permit has been issued and that the essential safety measures have been maintained.

The Assessing SRS applications page explains more about the criteria for determining approval of an ownership change.

Note to purchasers

If you buy an SRS, you become accountable for all compliance issues from the date of settlement. Compliance issues can relate to documentation, construction, infrastructure, or other issues. 

You should make your own assessment of how well the SRS complies with all the requirements, and how much it could cost to achieve full compliance. To help your assessment, use the Checklist on change of ownership which is available to download from the bottom of this page. It is not an exhaustive list of all compliance issues, but covers Standards 13, 14 and 15 of the SRS Regulations.

You should not assume the SRS is compliant simply because it is registered, or even because the department recently inspected it.

Approval of change in director

If the proprietor of an SRS is an incorporated body (that is. a company or association), and a person ceases to be a director or other officer of the incorporated body, then the proprietor must notify the department within seven days.

If a person is appointed as a new director or other officer, then the proprietor must lodge an application for the department to approve that person as a suitable person to carry on, exercise control over or manage a SRS within seven days of their appointment. The application form sets out the information and documentation required, and the criteria that will be assessed.

The Assessing SRS applications page explains more about the criteria for determining whether a director will be approved.

Approval of an SRS manager

The legislation requires a proprietor to employ a manager if the proprietor (or any directors) is not normally on site to carry out, direct and undertake the day-to-day operation of the SRS.

The proprietor needs to lodge an application within seven days of employing a manager, and the department will assess whether the person as suitable. The application form sets out the information and documentation required, and the criteria that will be assessed.

The Assessing SRS applications page explains more about the criteria for determining whether to approve a manager.

The Approval of managers fact sheet is available for download below and explains more about the approval process.

Cancellation of registration

If the proprietor of an SRS wishes to cancel their registration for whatever reason, they must lodge an application with the department. In this case, the proprietor has to provide residents with at least 28 days’ notice of an intention to close.

The proprietor must also lodge an application to cancel the registration if they wish to sell the SRS to another person.