As soon as you have confirmation of your study location in Australia, start looking for accommodation that suits your needs and budget. Student accommodation is usually highly sought after and requires prior planning.
Here are some factors to take into consideration when finding the right accommodation for you:
- Costs will vary depending on your chosen state, city, and type of accommodation. Use the cost of living calculator to get an estimate of your expenses and how they vary from state to state.
- Always confirm the total cost and any other expenses you may be required to pay, such as a bond as well as regular gas, water and electricity bills.
- Consider the distance of your accommodation from your campus and whether it is easily accessible by public transport, such as bus, tram or train.
- Find out what shopping centres and amenities, as well as health, hospital and emergency services are located nearby.
Renting a house
You can rent or ‘lease’ a property by yourself or with friends. This can be done through a real estate agent or privately (renting directly from a landlord/owner).
It is common for international students to live with other students in order to make living costs more affordable. There are often rental and share house options posted on boards at your education institution or at share house websites such as Flatmate Finders or Flatmates.com.au.
If you rent a house, you will need to pay a security deposit or ‘bond’ (which is usually equivalent to four weeks’ rent), as well as pay some rent in advance (usually to cover the first four weeks of your tenancy).
The bond money you pay must be held by the relevant state government department in every Australian state or territory. Do not give bond money directly to a housemate or to the property landlord, as you will not be legally protected if they decide not to return the money.
Bond money is held by the relevant state or territory government authority in order to potentially pay for any damages that you, your housemates or house guests may cause to the rental property during your tenancy. Some, or all, of the bond may be refunded to you when your lease ends if there has been no damage done beyond ‘fair wear and tear’ (see below).
For more information on your rights and obligations when renting in Australia, visit the website of the relevant Fair Trading government agency in your state and territory.
Applying for rental housing can be quite competitive. Here are some tips to help you with your search and application.
Managed student accommodation
Managed (or ‘purpose-built’) student accommodation (PBSA) are residences designed and built specifically for students. The options range from private studio apartments to shared rooms with communal areas, activities and facilities.
The residences are usually located close to major education providers or near public transport. Bills such as electricity and internet are generally included in the advertised rental cost, so the cost of living should not change much from month to month.
Many international students stay in short-term accommodation while they become familiar with their new city and meet potential housemates. Here are some short-term accommodation options:
- Hostels and hotels
- Temporary housing, which may be offered through your institution. Talk to your institution’s support staff or check its website for details.
University managed accommodation
Accommodation and facilities operated or controlled by a university for the exclusive use of students. University managed accommodation will be fully furnished, include bills as well as provide integrated university managed support.
Contact your institution to find out what accommodation options they offer and compare this to the cost of other accommodation options.
Accommodation and facilities for the exclusive use of students demonstrating priorities around quality pastoral programs, academic support, sporting, cultural and leadership development opportunities.
Homestay involves living with a family in their home. This can be a good option for younger students because you’ll enjoy all the comforts of a home, get to spend time with the family and often have meals and cleaning provided.
Families offering homestay accommodation are thoroughly screened to ensure they can provide a safe and suitable living environment.
If you have an agent, they can help arrange this for your or you can research local homestay providers in Australia.
Your legal obligations include:
- Paying for your accommodation on time
- Cleaning and looking after the property (including garden and pool if you have them).
Your legal rights include:
- Feeling secure in your property
- That your accommodation is well maintained with working electricity and water.
If you have problems with your accommodation:
- Renting: Talk to your real estate agent or landlord
- Managed student accommodation: Talk to the building manager
- On-campus living: Contact your international student support staff
- Homestay: Contact your homestay service provider.
If you are unable to resolve the issue directly, there are also organisations such as tenants’ unions and consumer advocates that can provide assistance. To find out more, visit the relevant Fair Trading government agency in your state or territory as listed above.
There is always someone who can help.
Quality assurance and accreditation
The Student Accommodation Association (SAA) in Australia promotes quality accommodation provided for the exclusive use of students. The SAA overseas a National Property Accreditation Scheme (NPAS). When a property has this accreditation, it means it is being operated to a set of industry-led standards for the exclusive use of students with a focus on student safety and wellbeing. Visit the NPAS website to find out which properties are accredited.