Overview

Under the Public Health and Wellbeing (Prescribed Accommodation) Regulations 2020, certain types of commercial accommodation (hotels and motels, hostels, student dormitories, holiday camps, rooming houses and residential accommodation (certain forms) are regulated as ‘prescribed accommodation’. Prescribed accommodation providers are required to meet hygiene, maintenance and other standards and requirements intended to minimise public health risk that may arise from shared use of facilities, high turnover of occupants and/or overcrowding.

Objective of the Regulations

The objective of the regulations is to prescribe matters required, permitted or necessary to be prescribed to give effect to the prescribed accommodation provisions, with the objective of minimising public health risks associated with prescribed accommodation.

Public consultation

The Public Health and Wellbeing (Prescribed Accommodation) Regulations 2020 have been made and replace the Public Health and Wellbeing (Prescribed Accommodation) Regulations 2009.

The exposure draft of the regulations and associated regulatory impact statement were released for public consultation between 16 September 2020 and 15 October 2020. Thirty-three submissions were received from a wide variety of stakeholders, including large and small accommodation providers, advocates for occupants of prescribed accommodation, local councils and other regulators. The submissions were carefully considered. A Response to public submissions-Public Health and Wellbeing (Prescribed Accommodation) Regulations 2020 that provides a statement of reasons addressing issues raised in the submissions as part of the consultation process is attached below.

The regulations have been made with mainly minor and technical amendments to improve clarity, operation and practicality. Amendments include changes to:

  • Provide consistency with other regulatory regimes, such as incorporating by reference the definition of ‘rooming house’ in section 3(1) of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. Consistent with the definition in the Residential Tenancies Act, specialist disability accommodation (SDA) enrolled dwellings as defined under that Act will be excluded from the definition of prescribed accommodation.

As a consequence of adopting the definition of ‘rooming house’ in the Residential Tenancies Act, premises declared as rooming houses by the Minister for Housing under the Residential Tenancies Act will be within the scope of the regulations.

  • Providing drafting clarification and modernising language such as including within the definition of ‘residential accommodation’, ‘part’ of a house, building, or other structure used as a place of abode where people can live on payment of consideration, and updating the terminology of ‘self-contained flat’ to ‘self-contained apartment’.

Further amendments are identified in the Response to public submissions-Public Health and Wellbeing (Prescribed Accommodation) Regulations 2020 referred to below.

The regulations came into effect on 13 December 2020 apart from the application of the regulations to rooming houses declared by the Minister for Housing under the Residential Tenancies Act. Declared rooming houses will be within the scope of the regulations from 13 June 2021 to allow time for proprietors and councils to operationalise the changes.

Additionally, the Department will undertake a further 5-year review of these regulations given several current and impending cross-portfolio reviews that intersect with prescribed accommodation. This review will provide an opportunity to address any outstanding concerns as well as recommendations from the cross-portfolio reviews.

The Department of Health and Human Services would like to thank everyone who provided input into the regulations over the last few years, including those who made written submissions through the sunset review process. 

Contact

Contact name: Health Protection Branch, the Department of Health and Human Services
Email:  PHWA.Enquiries@dhhs.vic.gov.au.

Documentation

Privacy collection statement

Participation in this consultation is voluntary. 

The Department of Health and Human Services (the department) collects and handles your information in accordance with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 and the Health Records Act 2001. 

The information you provide in your submission will be considered by the department in providing advice to the Minister for Health to finalise the proposed Public Health and Wellbeing (Prescribed Accommodation) Regulations 2020 and may be shared with the Minister for Health and other relevant Ministers.

All submissions will be treated as public documents unless the person making the comment or submission requests that it not be publicly available. Submissions and comments may be published with your name and contact details and your organisation’s name, and contact details.  If you request that your submission not be publicly available, your feedback will be drawn upon but not published or directly quoted. Your contact details may be used for consultation follow up and notifying you of the outcomes of the consultation, including notification about the publication of a statement of reasons regarding the form of the final regulations. 

If you choose to make an anonymous submission, it may be published or quoted but no identifying material will be included.

Comments and submissions will also be provided to the Scrutiny of Acts and Regulations Committee (SARC) of Parliament after the Regulations are made, in accordance with the requirements of the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994.

If you agree, your submission, including name and contact details, may be provided to other Government departments or Victorian statutory bodies carrying out cross-portfolio reviews as identified in the regulatory impact statement. 

If you have provided your name you may access the information that you provide to the department. If you have chosen to remain anonymous you will not be able to access your information once it has been submitted.

For more information on the department’s privacy collection, please refer to the department’s privacy policy or visit our website on: https://www.dhhs.vic.gov.au/publications/privacy-policy

You may contact the Health Protection Branch of the department at  PHWA.Enquiries@dhhs.vic.gov.au. or you may contact the department’s Information Sharing and Privacy team by emailing privacy@dhhs.vic.gov.au.