The international student guide to renting in Australia

Girl sits at deskInternational students in Australia have a number of accommodation options, from homestays, colleges and university apartments to private rentals. This article discusses rental properties and answers the questions you might have about this style of accommodation.

Where can I look for rental properties?
Your first step should be to visit your institution’s website, where you will find plenty of information about renting and other types of accommodation. Your institution will also have resources such as accommodation advisers, information sessions and accommodation noticeboards that allow you to search for properties and housemates. You can also search for rental properties on websites such as www.realestate.com.au and www.domain.com.au.

Can I organise my rental accommodation before I arrive in Australia?
It is not recommended to organise rental accommodation before you arrive in Australia, unless you have a trusted friend or family member in Australia who can inspect the property. It is very important that the property has been inspected before a lease is signed. If you are worried about searching for accommodation once you arrive, you might consider arranging a homestay for your first month or two in Australia. Homestay accommodation involves living with a family in their home and is a good short-term option while you search for a rental property. It will also give you time to get to know your new town or city. See Accommodation for more information about homestay.

How do I choose a rental property?
The most important thing is to choose a property that meets your needs. First, you should think about the type of property you would like to live in (a house or apartment, for example) and whether you would like to live alone or with housemates. The second step is to think about the features you need, such as a car space or a spare room for visiting family and friends. You will also need to consider factors such as public transport availability, distance to your institution and how much you can afford to pay. When considering your budget, be sure to factor in additional costs such as food and entertainment. If you are having trouble selecting a property, we recommend seeking advice from your institution’s accommodation service.

How much rent will I pay in Australia?
On average, renting in Australia costs AUD$100 to $400 per week*, but there are big differences between the states and territories and between metropolitan and regional areas. Costs are also typically lower if you live with housemates in a share house. Within cities, rental prices may be determined by proximity to the city centre and amenities such as public transport. Utility bills and internet costs are also usually paid in addition to rent, although you may find some properties advertised that include these in the overall rental cost. To find out how much rental accommodation costs in each state and territory, see Australia’s regions.

What is a lease?
A lease (or rental agreement) is the document you sign before moving into a property. The lease sets the terms of your tenancy and should include information such as the length of your stay, your monthly rental payment and the names of tenants, as well as conditions relating to use of the property. Typical conditions relate to noise, damage to the property and keeping of pets. Be sure to read the lease carefully before signing it. If you do not understand any part of the lease, you can ask your property manager or landlord (property owner) to explain it or visit your institution’s accommodation service office. The length of a lease is typically 12 months, but short-term options may be available.

What is a bond?
The ‘bond’ is a security deposit that 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 when you move out. If the property has been damaged during your stay, a portion of the bond may be kept by the landlord to pay for repairs. The bond is usually equal to four weeks of rent, but this amount varies due to regulations set by the relevant authorities in each state and territory. If you are renting with housemates, it is common practice for each person to contribute an equal proportion of the bond.

Useful links

*Source: Study in Australia website, 2013


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