House hunting tips
It is important to do some preparation and research before you start looking for permanent accommodation. Consider the following tips to improve your house-hunting experience.
- Decide on a location - consider the proximity to your campus, nearby facilities and public transport.
- Work out a budget – In addition to your weekly rent, you will also need to budget for electricity, gas, internet and public transportation costs. Also consider whether you can afford to buy furniture, or if you should be looking for furnished accommodation.
- Consider your housemate/s – take some time to consider what you want in a roommate (or if you even want one). Think about your age and gender preference, if you want to live with other students vs workers, if their lifestyle will compliment yours and whether they smoke. All these attributes will have a direct impact on your journey in Australia.
- Decide on a timeframe - Most accommodation options will have a minimum stay requirement. There may also be fees or charges should you wish to vacate the property sooner than you originally anticipated.
- View the property - always view a property before you agree to move in. Find out which room you would be staying in and what facilities you can use.
- Confirm inclusions - check what is included in your rent. If bills are not included, clarify how much these cost each month/quarter. Ask if there is a kitty (shared pool of money) to cover house expenses like cleaning products.
- Meet your housemates - it is recommended that you meet the other people who reside in the house or apartment before you sign a lease.
- Don’t be afraid to ask questions - remember you have to be comfortable in the property so the more you ask the better.
It’s a good idea to see a few properties, so try and book the appointments in as close together as possible so that if you are offered a room you are able to respond to the offer as soon as possible. If you leave it too long you could run the risk of losing the offer.
While private rental accommodation will require you to sign a lease and complete a property report, usually through a real estate agent, share accommodation is usually an informal arrangement between the occupants and the leaseholders and/or landlord. For this reason, it’s imperative to be comfortable with, and trusting of, the people you are living with and to understand you rights and responsibilities.
- Bond - whether you arrange private or share accommodation, you will need to pay a bond (usually 4 weeks rent). If you are staying in share accommodation, ensure you are given a receipt confirming bond payment.
- Rent payments - Try to arrange to pay your rent direct to the agent (if one is involved) or directly into the leaseholders account via internet banking so you have a record of your payments. Always avoid paying in cash. If you must pay in cash, ensure you receive a receipt confirming every payment.
- Condition report - it is recommended that you document the condition of the room when you move in. Make sure you sign the report and ask the leaseholder to countersign to avoid any issues from occurring when you move out.
- Bills - view all utility bills to ensure you are paying the correct amount.