Preparing to rent in Australia can be overwhelming on its own, but landing in the country down under and needing accommodation can be a whole separate form of intimidation.
Between competing with locals for property, no rental history, no income proof with no Australian employment and likely no guarantors, the reality of the situation can be daunting even without thinking of the preparation to study overseas.
At MyConnect, we’re here to help take some weight off your shoulders, as in this guide, we provide some tips and tricks to rent like an Australian and find yourself some international student accommodation!
Choosing The Right Accommodation
Before locking in the first property you find as your prime residence in Australia, it’s best to know the various types of accommodation you can stay in as an overseas student.
There are several accommodation options to choose from, including a private rental property, student apartments, on-campus accommodation and even a potential homestay. For a further dive into these options, click the drop-down menu below.
Private rental properties are properties you can rent or ‘lease’ by yourself or with a group. This is done through a real estate agent or through a landlord privately. The housing options can be an apartment, unit, or house.
Through renting, payment of a security deposit or ‘bond’ (4 weeks rent typically) needs to be made, as well as rent in advance (also 4 weeks typically).
Utilities will also need to be organised (which we can help with here) and most likely furniture (as private rentals are typically not furnished upon arrival).
This type of accommodation is recommended for a long stay and can cost between $100 to $500 per week, depending on the size and location of the property. For more detail on rental costs in either Melbourne or Sydney, you can dive into our cost of living articles here and here.
Homestay accommodation is an ideal option for younger students which provides all the comforts of living in an already-established home by staying with an Australian family.
Typically, your education provider will offer these types of homestay services as they will maintain a register of accommodation providers.
This type of accommodation is recommended for a short to medium stay and homestay providers will expect between $250 to $350 per week for the rental accommodation.
Managed student apartments are purpose-built complexes suited to house hundreds of students under one roof. These apartments can range from shared rooms with other housemates to studio apartments depending on the cost willing to spend.
Unlike private rental properties, student apartments offer various facilities which could consist of gyms, libraries and several study areas. These apartments are likely part of embedded networks, with utility bills taken care of and come bundled with the rent.
This type of accommodation is recommended for a medium to long stay and can cost between $250 to $600 per week due to the facilities, furnished areas and bundled utilities.
Universities across Australia will likely have apartment-style properties on-campus or off-campus but close by. These areas will usually provide furnished student living accommodation and even provide cleaning services and meals.
Universities, Institutions, and education providers can provide several types of accommodations, including halls of residence, residential colleges, and the aforementioned student apartments.
This type of accommodation is recommended for a medium stay and can cost between $100 to $300 per week for the on-campus facilities used.
The type of accommodation will also depend on various factors, ranging from budget and how much you’re willing to spend on rent, to which suburb or area across Australia is best suitable for your stay. The choice of facilities listed in the options above will also play a large role, as well as access to public transport, a go-to mode of transport for any student in Australia.
Once you’ve decided on the type of accommodation that suits your needs, there are plenty of ways to find your dream accommodation, including student services from your institute to going straight to a real estate agent’s office.
For the best chance to get a clear scope of local properties, online websites like realestate.com.au or domain.com.au are great places to discover rental properties for sale in the area. Alternatively, student-specific accommodation can be found on websites like student.com and universityliving.com.
Inspecting & Applying For The Property
After identifying a few properties that meet your criteria, the next step is to inspect them. Be sure to check the property inspection times and confirm them with the real estate agents, as they can be changed.
Property managers usually open properties for 15-30 minutes, with Saturdays being the most popular day for inspections in Australia. However, other days and times may be available. Additionally, the property manager may request your identification and personal details before allowing you to inspect the property.
If you like the property, the property manager may ask if you want to apply for it. If not, you can continue inspecting properties until you find one that meets your requirements.
Don’t get Catfished!
Before falling in love with the images online, check out the property in person to make sure the home is everything you’re imagining it to be.
To apply for the property, you must complete an application form and provide comprehensive information. This will typically include personal details and some form of identification, employment details, rental history, and references from previous employers and landlords (if there are any).
Once you submit the application, the property agent will review it and discuss it with the landlord before notifying you of the outcome. In addition, the property manager will conduct background, employment, and reference checks to ensure that the tenant can pay rent on time. Some properties may have significant competition, so applying early can increase the likelihood of a positive response.
Leases & Bonds
If the property agent has let you know the application was successful, it’s time to sign the lease! A lease is a contract outlining the terms under which one party agrees to rent an asset—in this case, property—owned by another party. This lease will either be a fixed term or a periodic lease.
The lease document contains essential information such as the duration of the tenancy, rent amount, payment due dates and methods, bond amount, inspection frequency, and any special conditions that tenants must adhere to. When signing the lease, tenants are typically required to pay a refundable security deposit known as a bond.
The landlord or property agent will lodge this bond with the authorized government body in your state or territory, and it typically amounts to 4-6 weeks’ rent. The bond is held until the end of the lease, and it serves to protect the landlord’s rights to cover any expenses incurred due to tenant-caused damages. It is crucial to obtain a copy of the bond receipt as proof of payment.
After Signing The Lease
Now that you’ve signed on to the new rental property, you can start prepping for the big move day and start preparing for student life in Australia!
For more renting and moving information, here are a couple of quick articles we’ve made to help you stay rent-smart:
- Change of Address Checklist – Who needs to know when moving house?
- Condition Report – Everything you need to know
- MyConnect Moving Checklist (with downloadable PDF)
- Contents Insurance: What is it and why do I need it?
- Home Deterioration: Wear & Tear or Damage?
If this is your first move out of home, check out our guide on Moving Out for the First Time here. Furthermore, if this is your first rental property and you’re still unsure about renting as a whole, check out our post on What you should know about renting here.
Lastly, it isn’t a home without electricity or gas to power the property from the moment you move in.
If you need help getting your utilities connected sorted, please call MyConnect on 1300 854 478 or use the Get Connected form here! If you’re unsure about using a utility connection company, hopefully, this post here can assist you.