​Application by a rooming house resident or rooming house owner

If you are a rooming house resident or rooming house owner or operator you can apply to VCAT to decide a dispute, including a dispute related to a residential tenancy database.

A rooming house owner is any person who conducts the business of operating a rooming house.

A rooming house resident is someone who lives in the room as their only or main residence.

A building is a rooming house if it is set up so that four or more people may occupy one or more rooms and share facilities.

Notices you must attach to your application

Under some sections of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997, if you are applying as a rooming house owner, operator or resident you must attach the relevant prescribed document.

Rooming house residents

Check the list below and attach the relevant document to your application if you are applying under one of these sections of the Act.

  • Section 103, order declaring rent excessive – attach a copy of the report from Consumer Affairs Victoria
  • Section 132(1), non-urgent repairs – attach a copy of the report from Consumer Affairs Victoria
  • Section209, compensation or compliance order – attach a copy of breach of duty notice given under section 208 of the Act
  • Section 321B, challenge validity of notice – attach a copy of a Notice to Vacate.

To find out more read What section numbers in the Residential Tenancies Act mean.

Rooming house owners

Find out the relevant Section Number of the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 that applies to your claim type. You will need to quote it in claim details of your application. You may also have to provide documents to support your claim. To find out more read What section numbers in the Residential Tenancies Act mean.

How to apply

There are three ways that you can apply to VCAT. You should check whether you need to pay an application fee.

Residential Tenancies Hub

We recommend applying through the Residential Tenancies Hub. The hub lets you pay your application fee online, gives you a VCAT reference number, get your hearing date immediately (in most cases), see all applications you have made through the hub, and withdraw your application if you resolve your renting dispute before a hearing.

If you are an estate agent or from a community housing group, you will need to provide us with some information to register for the Residential Tenancies Hub.

When applying through the hub, you will need to send VCAT any supporting documents separately by email, in person or by post.

Online application form

Using this online form allows you to save your application as a draft, pay application fees and upload any supporting documents. Create a login and submit.

Paper-based form

You can choose to print a form and send it to us by post. Application fee payments will need to be made by post or in person.

Need help with your application?

VCAT cannot give you legal advice. Seek legal help if you are unsure about your legal options. The following services may be able to help you:

Do I need a lawyer or professional representative?

You do not need to have legal or other professional representation to appear at VCAT.

For renting cases, most landlords are represented by an estate agent. If you are a tenant and your landlord is represented by their real estate agent, you are automatically entitled to professional representation.

When your dispute is about regaining possession of a rental property, you do not need permission from VCAT to be legally represented.

Find free or low-cost legal services that may be able to assist you.

Access and privacy

VCAT hearings and files are usually public.

VCAT has limited authority to restrict who can access cases and files but, in certain circumstances, you can apply for confidentiality. For more about applying for confidentiality.

Legislation that applies to this type of case

Residential Tenancies Act 1997

Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 1998

Cases VCAT can hear

VCAT can hear disputes between rooming house owners and rooming house residents.

Cases VCAT cannot hear

VCAT cannot hear disputes between tenants and tenants, or disputes between neighbours.

  • When VCAT processes your application form we assign you a reference number and send you a letter. The letter tells you what to do next. Generally cases heard under the Residential Tenancies List are short and often go straight to final hearing without a directions hearing. Read more about what happens when VCAT opens a case.

  • We encourage you to negotiate with the other party to reach a resolution. At VCAT we often use mediation or compulsory conferences as a way to resolve disputes before going to a hearing. However, as most cases in the Residential Tenancies List are short, and involve amounts less than $1000, we rarely schedule compulsory conferences. Read more about resolving a case by agreement.

  • The VCAT member decides the case based on the evidence given at the hearing. If you are an applicant you need to prove what you are claiming. In the same way, if you are a respondent you need to back up your defence with evidence. The best evidence is what you and your witnesses give verbally, supported by original documents. Read more about how to prepare for a final hearing.

  • Arrive at VCAT with plenty of time so that you are not late for your hearing. When your case is called, move into the hearing room and make sure you are ready to present your case. Usually the applicant and the applicant's witnesses give evidence first. Then the respondent and the respondent's witnesses give their evidence. Read more about what to expect on hearing day.

  • In the Residential Tenancies List the VCAT member generally gives a decision to the parties verbally. If you want reasons to be provided in writing you should make your request at the beginning of the hearing. If you wait until the end of hearing it may be too late to ask for the decision to be provided in writing. Read more about what to expect after the final hearing.