Guide for Students - Before You Start Searching

Before you start searching there are a number of things you need to consider, such as where you want to live, if you want to live with others and what you can afford. Below is a list of various things to consider:

Finances - Work out a budget

  • Work out a weekly/fortnightly budget: How much money do you have for rent? - Be realistic, do not look for rentals that you cannot afford and make sure you account for food and transport costs. 
  • Rent (on average) can be anywhere between $100-$200 per week for a room in a shared house, and upwards of $180 for a property, depending on the location and/or what is included in the cost of rent. 
  • Consider the difference that the distance from the University makes to your budget. Living closer to Uni may cost more in rent, but you may save on travel each day and vice versa. Don't forget that increased travel time may take away your time for study or part-time work.
  • Bond payments and rent in advance: Bond is like a security deposit that is held until you move out, it can be anywhere between 1-4 weeks rent. Providers can ask you to pay up to two weeks rent in advance. Do you have enough money to pay for bond and rent in advance?

Location - Where do you want to live?

  • Do you rely on public transport? If so, consider living in accommodation on the main public transport routes.
  • Will you look for part time work? Think of where you will look for work and how you will get to your workplace.
  • Is being close to a shopping centre important to you?
  • Would you like to be close to the beach or another place of interest?

Transport - How will you get around?

  • Consider how you will get to and from Uni: car, bus, bicycle or walk? 

Facilities - What facilities do you want from your rental?

  • What sort of space are you looking for? Keep in mind, the size, location and what is included, does vary the cost of rent. 
  • Do you wish to have your own room? What facilities do you want in your room? e.g. bed, desk, chair.
  • Are you willing to share a bathroom? Most rooms that have their own bathroom may cost more, decide if the difference in cost is worth it to you. 
  • Do you want meals provided? Most listing on UniStays do not include meals, keep an eye out for the ones that do if this is what you are after.

People - Do you want to share a house or live alone?
The people you live with largely influence the atmosphere in your new home and it's important to remember this when deciding who will be suitable to live with and whether you will get along well as housemates.

  • Who do you want to live with?
  • Do you want to live with several people, or only one or two?
  • Do you want to share expenses, cooking, meal times and social activities, or would you prefer more privacy?
  • Do you want to live in a family situation, or with friends? 
  • If you would prefer to live alone, please be aware that it will cost more than if you were to share.

Renting
• If you are looking for a rental property or share accommodation: how much time will you need to look for a place?
• Do you have references ready?
• Do you have the money for bond and the first month's rent?
• Do you know where and how to look for a house or flat?
• Do you know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant?
• Do you have friends who also want to establish a house?

Questions to ask

Before you look at moving into a property, it is a good idea to think about all the questions you need to ask and the information you require from the agent, landlord or share house tenants. You will probably be surprised at the things you think of when you write the list of things you want to know. Here are some examples of questions you can include in your own checklist:
About the Property
• Is your property still available for rent?
• What date is it available?
• What is the exact address and how do I get there?

Rent, Lease and Bond
• How much is the rent per week?
• Does the rent include utilities - is the cost of water, electricity, phone, internet included?
• Do I have to pay a bond? How much is it? When I leave, how is the money refunded to me?
• Do I have to pay rent in advance? If so, how many weeks?
• Are there any other charges?
• What is the type of lease - fixed or periodic? I will only be here for a few months - is that OK? What about the lease arrangements?
• How much notice will I have to give if I want to leave?

Furnishings
• Is the place furnished with kitchenware, fridge, tables, desks, TV, lounge, washer, dryer, phone?
• Is the bedroom furnished with a bed, desk, wardrobe, linen, and pillows?
• What will I need to buy before moving in?

Location and Security
• Is the property within walking distance of the University?
• How close is the bus stop that goes to the University and how long is the trip?
• How close is the shopping centre where I can buy food and other groceries?
• How safe is the neighbourhood?
• Are there good locks on the doors and windows?
• Is there a place to park my bike or car?

Share House Living
• Can you tell me about the other people living in the house?
• What parts of the house (kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, living room) are shared and by how many people?
• Will it provide the right study environment or will there be too many distractions?
• Will it provide social interaction with other students?