Choosing a place to live is such an exciting part of studying abroad! The freedom, cultural experiences, and friends you make through shared space can create unforgettable memories. There is a wide selection of accommodation options to choose from in Australia that suit your lifestyle and budget. The most important factor in selecting the right accommodation is that you feel comfortable and secure. With studies on your mind, the last thing you want to deal with is feeling anxious and uneasy in your own living space.
Choosing The Right Place
Finding a suitable space is fundamental to feeling at home, especially when moving to a new place. Accommodations around Australia may vary depending on your location and the type of accommodation you choose. Here are some various types of accommodations to choose from:
1. Student Accommodation
Prices range from around AUD $200 to $400 per week, students can either live independently in their studio apartment or live with a fellow student. Student accommodation offers recreational and social events for residents where life skills are developed. All utility bills like Wi-Fi, electricity and water fees are included in your weekly rent! Additionally, your living space would be fully furnished! The only downside to this is that you must organize your meals. Students have the option of either signing a short-term or long-term lease with the student accommodation. Find the right student accommodation for you through the websites below:
Want to experience the life of an average Australian family? Then this is the option for you. Living in a local host family is perfect for those who want to experience Australian culture. The duration of their stay can be short-term or long-term, depending on both the student and the host family. Homestay can be relatively affordable, with prices ranging from AUD $250 to $350. The best thing about living with a host family is that students can receive tremendous support, and maybe even home-cooked meals. The disadvantage of living with a host family is that the student’s independence may be restricted, curfews may apply depending on the family, and the living area is mostly shared.
3. Living on Campus
Some Australian universities offer housing for their students through residential colleges. The prices of living on campus range from around AUD $300 TO $500 per week. This includes all utility bills like Wi-Fi, electricity, water, and gas. As the university imposes strict guidelines and security measures, it creates a safe environment for students to live in. Students can eat at their dormitory cafeteria, but an additional fee may apply to their rent. Aside from being able to travel to classes conveniently, students can make friends easily through events hosted by the residential college. However, there are a few drawbacks to living on campus due to strict rules and regulations. For example, your residential college may apply rules regarding social activities and noise level restrictions. In addition, not only is it expensive to live on campus but also all equipment, appliances, and common areas are shared amongst many students.
4. Private Rental
Get your full independence through private rentals where students can enjoy their own space and company. There is so much freedom in renting your apartment as you can create your own house rules. Some private rentals are furnished, so the students should look for furnished apartments beforehand. If students prefer to arrange their furniture in the apartment, then there are also unfurnished apartments available. Private rentals usually cost about AUD $120 to $400 per week, depending on the location and quality of the apartment. The pitfall of renting your place is that not all the utilities are included. This means that you may need to arrange for your furniture and utility bills. If you are looking to rent from a private property, then the most preferred way is to search the properties online. Here are some popular websites to look from:
Factors To Consider
Rents are typically higher when your accommodation is closer to Australia’s CBD (Central Business District). This also applies to on-campus accommodation as well as places that are closer to the campus. International students are always advised to conduct thorough research before choosing their accommodation. How accessible are the university/college, work, and shopping district from the property? Is the location of your property safe for students?
Another very important factor to consider before applying for accommodation is to look into your budget. Is the rent fee worth the type of accommodation you are looking for? Does the rent include other utility bills like water, electricity, Wi-Fi, and such? If not, what is the estimated cost, and will that justify the total expenses for the type of accommodation provided? These are some of the crucial questions you should be asking before deciding on where to live. It is also important to compare the total fee for short-term and long-term accommodation.
3. Public Transport
Sometimes, students may not mind living a bit further away from the city as public transportation is convenient. Living in an area where a wide range of public transportation is available can be super beneficial. Choosing a place that also offers convenient transportation to other locations is a plus!
4. Style of Accommodation
Depending on your expectations and needs, the accommodation you choose is entirely up to you. If you want to experience meeting and living with other students from different parts of the world, then try living in dormitories or student accommodation. On the other hand, you can also try living independently by renting your very own apartment. Want a mix of both? Then try the option of having your private bedroom but living in a shared space! There are so many options of accommodation styles to choose from.
Though having full independence by living in a rental private property may seem fun and exciting, it is usually not recommended to organize rentals that are not associated with student accommodation or university/ college dormitories before arriving in Australia. Unless you have a trusted friend or family member in Australia who can inspect the property for you, it is not advised for international students to organize their private rental accommodation before they arrive in Australia as it can be too risky. If you are worried about searching for accommodation once you arrive, you might want to consider arranging a homestay or student accommodation for your first few months in Australia. This is a good idea, especially if you want to get to know your new town or city
After selecting a few potential properties that meet your selection criteria, the next step is to book an inspection. For international students that are moving to Australia for the first time, booking an inspection may be very difficult as there is a time crunch. Therefore, doing thorough research on the types of accommodation you are interested beforehand in is very important. Reading online reviews and other students’ experiences living in the accommodation may help you gain a better picture of what the property is like. Oftentimes, student accommodations and university dorms may provide online video tours of their facilities and rooms available to international students who are unable to physically attend an inspection. This may help with your decisions on selecting the right accommodation.
Rental Agreement/ Lease
Whichever type of accommodation you choose, you will be required to sign a legal contract to protect both the tenant (you) and the landlord. Most contracts last up to six months or a year. You will need to pay a bond for any incident that may occur. This deposit covers cleaning and maintenance costs after you leave the property. It is vital to note that some rules and regulations govern the use of bonds, and you must abide by them. Thus, you must read the contract carefully before signing your name away. For more information, visit the Residential Tenancies Authority to learn more about the tenant’s rights and responsibilities. This website can help you to be more cautious of your rights and obligations before signing your rental agreement.
A bond, also known as a security deposit, is paid to your landlord or property manager before you move into a property. This payment is held for the duration of your tenancy and is returned once you move out. In case of any incidentals that happen during your stay, then a portion of the bond may be kept by the landlord to pay for repairs. The bond is usually equal to about 4 weeks of rent; however, this amount varies due to the regulation set by the relevant authorities in each state and territory.
Your property agent or landlord must give you a condition report before moving into the property. A condition report is a document that records the general condition of the property and any existing wear tear or damage. The report must be completed and handed back. It is important to notice and note down any further damages or missing items in case of a potential future dispute between you and the landlord. It is also advisable to take photos of any pre-existing damage or scratches before you move into the property to avoid future disagreements.
After your lease ends, keep in mind to ensure that the property is left clean and tidy. It is always advisable to leave the property the same way that it was. If the property is not left clean or in a reasonable condition, then the property agent may deduct the cost of cleaning or damage from the bond. Once the final inspections are done, you and your landlord or property agent will complete a bond claim form after reaching an agreement on how and to whom the bond should be paid out.
Accommodation Tips & Summary
Here are a few final tips to consider when searching for accommodations in Australia for international students:
1. Do not leave everything at the last minute!
Leaving things at the last minute will not only create stress for you but also limitations to potential opportunities! So, start making accommodation plans immediately after receiving your acceptance letter from the university, college, or any other school. Planning early will help you properly consider and go through all the available options with enough time.
2. Seek advice
When searching for private accommodation in Australia for international students, you can seek advice from your education provider or institution. There is usually a list of accommodation options for students to search for.
3. Go online
There are also many rental properties on websites. Some of the most popular sites to use are domain.com.au and realestate.com.au. These websites will help you find an apartment or a shared house facility per your location. Each rental property listing should include the rental price, bond fee, facility information, and pictures.
4. Know your rights
International students renting an apartment from private property in Australia will need to know that they have tenancy rights. For further information regarding renting in Australia, you can contact the relevant authority in your state or territory. See the list below:
- ACT – http://www.tenantsact.org.au/renting-advice/
- NSW – https://www.tenants.org.au/
- NT – https://consumeraffairs.nt.gov.au/
- QLD – https://tenantsqld.org.au/
- SA – https://www.syc.net.au/home/rentrightsa/
- TA – https://www.cbos.tas.gov.au/home
- VIC – https://www.consumer.vic.gov.au/
- WA – https://circlegreen.org.au/