International Student Housing Project Launch

WEstjustice has launched the International Student Housing Project (ISHP) Report, together with key stakeholders from government and legal, housing and consumer rights organisations.

The ISHP aims to identify, address, and ultimately reduce some of the renting issues facing international students in Victoria, with a particular focus on insecure housing and the regulation of the rental sector.

For the purposes of this project, insecure housing includes unregistered and non-compliant rooming houses, sub-tenancies, licences and homestays, and other informal or ambiguous situations. 

The report found: 

  • The current regulatory approach is mostly reactive and complaints driven, rather than proactive and investigative, which is onerous on renters who are often not aware of, or not empowered to enforce their rights
  • There is a lack of co-ordination and information sharing between various regulatory authorities and service providers, and particularly between CAV and local councils in respect of rooming houses; • There are concerns that regulatory authorities very rarely use enforcement options, such as fines and prosecutions, which undermines any deterrent effect of regulation
  • Complaints may take a long time to investigate, and complainants are often not made aware of their progress or outcome

Key recommendations included:

  • Proactive regulation of accommodation providers
  • Stronger complaints and enforcement responses
  • Creation of an infringements system for accommodation providers
  • Additional funding for student housing legal services

Aunty Georgina Nicholson opened the event with a Welcome to Country. She was followed by WEstjustice CEO, Melissa Hardham, who introduced the ISHP Report, gave an overview of its findings and introduced the Minister for Consumer Affairs, Gaming and Liquor Regulation, The Hon Melissa Horne, to give the keynote address.

This project was generously funded by the Lord Mayor’s Charitable Foundation.

Report author, Caitlin Louth, presented the report and spoke about the need for greater assistance for international students and stronger regulation of accommodation providers.

Victoria's Commissioner for Residential Tenancies, Dr Heather Holst, spoke about her work in this area and the importance of improving the safety and quality of accommodation and housing for international students.

This project would not have been possible without the support of Lord Mayor's Charitable Foundation. You can download the full ISHP Report or visit our website for more information.


WE are located

  • Footscray
  • Werribee
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Level 1 / 72 Buckley Street, Footscray VIC 3011

Tel: + 61 3 9749 7720
Fax: + 61 3 9749 8276

Office hours:
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Tel: + 61 3 9749 7720
Fax: + 61 3 9749 8276

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Please call us to get legal help (appointment time needed).


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