Media Releases 2011
Council shuts down illegal rooming house
19 September 2011
Yarra Council is on the look-out for unsafe, illegal rooming houses operating above shops, after another property in Victoria Street had to be evacuated earlier this month.
Council’s Municipal Building Surveyor inspected the second-floor property on Thursday 8 September, and ordered that its 12 occupants be evacuated within 24 hours.
Mayor Cr Alison Clarke said the building did not have a sprinkler system, a smoke detection system, emergency lighting or satisfactory exit signs and its stairs led to a dead-locked gate.
“Council became aware that an illegal rooming house was operating at the property after a person contacted Council to discuss proposed changes to the building to make it suitable for accommodation,” Cr Clarke said.
“The operator of the rooming house did not have the required building and planning permits, or meet the necessary health regulations, to operate a rooming house at the premises,” she said.
“In situations where Council orders the evacuation of a building, Council contacts housing support services which offer to assist occupants to find new accommodation should they need it.”
Cr Clarke urged real estate agents and landlords to be vigilant in not allowing their buildings to be sub-let by unscrupulous operators.
“This is a very serious matter. If a fire had broken out at this property, the occupants would have been in real danger,” she said.
Last year, Council successfully prosecuted the operator of another illegal rooming house in Victoria Street, with the Magistrates Court ordering that operator to pay nearly $23,000 in fines and costs.
“Council officers will continue to conduct random inspections of potentially high-risk buildings in the municipality,” Cr Clarke said.
“We encourage anyone who has suspicions that a property is operating as an illegal rooming house to contact us, so we can inspect the property and make sure that vulnerable people are not living in unsafe conditions.”
If you would like to report any concerns, please contact Council’s Building Department on 9205 5095.
For media enquiries about this issue, please contact:
Coordinator - Communications
9205 5177 / 0400 933 700
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