A step by step guide for renting in Australia for overseas students

 

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Finding accommodation to live in Australia is one of the most challenging parts of overseas students life. It can be really challenging as

  • You usually compete with the locals for the property
  • You don’t have rental history
  • You don’t income proof as you don’t have Australian employment
  • You probably have no guarantors

Here in this guide, we explain the step by step on renting in Australia as an overseas student.


Step 1: Look for the property

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The first step is to look for the property that you would like to rent. There are various types of accommodation options available for overseas students in Australia. You can rent a

  • Private rental
  • Student apartments
  • On campus and
  • Home Stay

You can find more information about all these accommodation types here.

Before you even decide the type of accommodation, we suggest you consider the following selection criteria for choosing the accommodation:

  • Budget: How much money would you like to spend?
  • Area: Which suburb or areas you would you like to love?
  • Facilities: Which facilities matter to you the most like furnished accommodation, pool, gyms etc
  • Location:  How accessible the university/college, work and shopping are from the property?
  • Public Transport: How far is the public transport from the property?

Although, there are many ways (e.g. student services from your institute, notice boards, newspapers or real estate agents office) you can look for accommodation in Australia but the most preferred way is to search the properties online. You can look for various rental properties on popular websites like:

You can also look for student-specific accommodations on websites like:


Step 2: Inspect the property

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Once you selected a few properties meeting your selection criteria, the next step is to inspect the property. You will need to check the property inspection open times and it is also advisable to confirm the timings with the property agents as well because sometime the inspection times might change.

Usually, the property managers will open the property for 15 to 30 minutes. In Australia, Saturday is the most popular day for the inspections. Although, there might be another days or timing available as well. The property manager may even ask for your identification and some personal details before letting you inspect the property.

After inspecting the property, the property manager may ask you if you like the property and if you would like to apply for the property. If you like the property, then you will go to step 3, if not, then you will keep inspecting the property until you find the one that meets your requirement.

It is also advisable to inspect the property before renting as some students in the past have reported that pictures shown on the websites look different than the reality,


Step 3: Application for the property

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Once, you are happy with the property, you will need to proceed with the application of the property. This usually involves completing an application form and providing as much information as possible.

Some of the key information that you need to provide in this application form includes:

  • Personal Details including some form of identification
  • Employment details
  • Previous rental history
  • References from employers and previous landlords etc.

Once you submit the application, the property agent will notify you about the result of the application after discussions with the landlord. The property manager will also conduct the background, employment and reference checks as well to ensure that they are going to give rental property to someone who can pay the rent in time.

There can be quite a lot of competition in some properties so it is better to apply nice and early if you would like to improve the chances of getting a positive answer.


Step 4: Sign the lease and paying the bond

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If your application is successful, the next step is to sign the lease. A lease is a legally binding contract between you (a tenant) and a landlord. A lease can be fixed term (which is for a specific time like 12 months) or a periodic lease (month by month).

This lease document will have information on:

  • How long a tenant can live
  • How much the rent will
  • When the rent must be paid and how
  • How much the bond will be
  • How often the inspections will be conducted
  • Any special conditions that tenants must abide

You will also usually need to pay the bond when you are signing up the lease. A bond is a refundable security deposit that you need to provide to landlord or property agent which they will then be lodging it to the authorised government body in your state or territory. You may need to pay an amount equivalent to 4 to 6 weeks of rent as your bond.

A bond is kept by this authority till your lease finishes and you decide to move out of the property. It is kept to ensure the rights of a landlord to cover any expenses for damages that might be caused by the tenants. It is important that you get a copy of the receipt of your bond.

If you plan to sublet the property to other tenants, then you should get approval from your landlord first. Also, it is better to have every co-tenants name on the lease as well as it legally binds them also in case something does go wrong.


Step 5: Condition report

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Once you signed the lease and lodged bond, it is time to move into the property. Prior to moving into the property, your property agent or landlord must give you a condition report. A condition report is a document that records the general condition of the property and any existing wear tear or damage.

You must get this report and complete if you find any further damages or scratches or any other missing items. Once completed, you will need to give it back to your property manager or landlord. You must keep a copy of that condition report for yourself as well.

It is also advisable to take photos of any damages or scratches that happened before you move into the property to avoid any future disputes with the property manager or landlords.


Step 6: Moving into a new home and Inspections

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It is time to move into the property and make it to your own. Welcome to your new home!

While you are renting the property, it is always good to keep it clean and tidy at all times. You should try to treat it like your own house. The property manager or a landlord will conduct regular inspections also to ensure that the property is well maintained throughout the lease period.

The inspections will usually be conducted at least 2 or 3 times per year if your lease is for 12 months. It can be more or less depending on the agreement that you have with the landlord or the agent.

A landlord or an agent can not inspect the property without giving you written notice. There usually restrictions on timeframes as well on when the inspections can be conducted.  You usually don’t need to be present at the inspection as a landlord or a property agent keep the spare key of the property.

If while renting, there are things that need to be repaired then you can tell them to the agent or landlord when they come for an inspection. However, if the repairs are urgent then you must notify them as soon as possible.


Step 7: Ending the lease

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Once the lease is over, it is up to you and landlord if you want to extend it further or not. If you are planning to move at the end of the lease, then you must notify the landlord or agent at least 28 days before the lease expires. It gives the chance to the property manager or a landlord to show the property to other prospective tenants.

When leaving the property, it is important to make sure to leave it clean and tidy. It is always advisable to leave the property the same way that it was when you moved into it. Your property manager or landlord will inspect the property after you leave. They will also do the final condition report also and if the property is not left clean or in a reasonable condition, then they might deduct the cost of cleaning or damages from your bond.

When the final inspections are done, you and your landlord or agent must complete a bond claim form after reaching an agreement on how and to whom the bond should be paid out. However, if you and your landlord or agent can’t reach an agreement then a landlord or a property agent should to the tribunal for claiming the bond in case of dispute over cleaning or damage.

You can apply for tribunal for claiming your bond as well in case you don’t receive the bond back within a few days of moving out from the property.

Also, it is important to cancel all the utilities like gas, water, electricity and internet as well. You must also notify all the businesses you expect to receive the mail from.  Alternatively, you can use Australia Post’s mail redirect service for redirecting all the mail to your new address.


Where to get more help

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If you need further information on renting, we suggest you contact the relevant authority in your state or territory. Here is a list of the relevant authorities for each state and territory in Australia

ACT – Tenants Union Act

NSW – Tenants Advice & Advocacy Services

NT – Consumer Affairs Northern Territory

QLD – Tenants Queensland

SA – Tenants’ Information and Advisory Service

TAS – Consumer Affairs and Fair Trading

VIC – Consumer Affairs Victoria

WA – Tenancy WA

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