Either as part of a routine visit, or to investigate complaints, council workers may visit a sex services premises. They will probably focus on these questions:
Stay calm when council staff come to your workplace. Remember owning or working in a brothel and being a sex worker are not illegal. When council staff come to your workplace they:
Council staff must give the owner or occupier written notice of their intentions to inspect the premises, detailing the day for the visit and giving at least a day’s notice before the visit.
But council staff can enter without giving written notice if:
NOTE: If council staff have a search warrant they do not have to give the owner or operator advanced written notice that they intend to visit.
Council staff may get permission to enter and search premises for evidence that a DA and other council laws and standards are being disobeyed. This permission is called a ‘search warrant’. They can only apply for a search warrant if they have good reason to believe rules are being disobeyed. Council staff must issue notice of the warrant—called an ‘occupiers notice’—when they enter, but they can delay doing so if they have a good reason.
An occupier’s notice must include:
Police may accompany council workers with search warrants and can help them to do their job.
Council staff must produce written permission from the council to enter the workplace if the owner or occupier asks them to. The permission must include the:
Council staff cannot enter any part of premises used only for residential purposes—unless you give them permission or they have a search warrant. This applies whether you own or rent the premises. But council staff can enter your private residence to inspect work being carried out under a DA, such as an extension to a house.
Council can use private investigators to help them collect evidence. Private investigators do not have to identify themselves to sex industry workers or owners, even if asked directly.
If you are unhappy with how council staff behave you can complain to the general manager of the council. If this is not effective, contact these organisations for more information: