The struggle is real when trying to find rental accommodation. Not only are you competing with hundreds of others applying to rent but it’s exhausting. We’re going to break it down for you, so if you’re moving to Australia from over seas this simple guide will take the stress out of the exciting, but tiring, process of moving.
What are your options
There are many types of accommodations available to you as a student or traveler. Whether you need a long term or short term stay let’s list down the most common options.
On campus, well the name says it all. You’ll be living on campus with other students in a single or share room. For those of you who want to be as close as possible to Uni life this couldn’t be more closer. It’s a great option if you want to meet other students, walk to classes and be able to return home within 10-15 minutes of classes ending. It will definitely save time on travel and you’ll be connected to the hub of social events. Living on campus may also give you access to additional support in your studies, as well as access to health and well being programs and support services. Double check with your University what the benefits would be.
Off campus, this is still University organised usually however you’ll be set up in share or single rooms or house with other students just like the on campus option. The accommodation is usually a house or block of Units purchase by the University or a company directly dealing in Student accommodation. The accommodation is usually in a good location away from the Universities but still within easy walk or public transport distance.
Homestay, great for someone very new and not knowing anyone. Your host family can point you in the right directions and help you get set up as they’re locals to your new country. Plus they are usually a family who might cook for you, which will be a great way to indulge in the culture and taste test new food. Don’t forget to return the favor by making them you’re favorite local cuisine every so often! There are multiple websites to check out online such as Australian Homestay Network.
Hostels, these are usually the cheapest option but temporary. For the first month or so this would be ideal so you can learn the areas you want to look at living in and get a feel for the transport system in your new city. You’ll likely be sharing a room with 3-10 others who might be travelers or other students, and your room mates will be changing regularly in this case as they’ll move on to new cities or permanent accommodation. Sometimes you can even do chores or work behind the desk for them and receive free accommodation or WiFi depending on how they’re set up. This could save you a lot of money initially as you might not find a job within the first month.
Private Rentals, for those of you feeling very independent you might want to live in a private rental. You can share these with others or move in to your own place alone. Obviously living alone is the most expensive option, share housing is not only cheaper but you’ll also make new friends and if you’ve never lived out of home before you’ll be exposed to new people and see how they live. It’s a big eye opener. A bonus too is that if you’re still learning English, or wish to practice it, then living with English speakers will only develop you English speaking skill ten fold. You’ll be fluent in no time!
How to Find Accommodation
As it’s a digital age, the internet! Obviously if you know people living in your host city already talk with them but majority of new students and travelers don’t. If you’ve decided to share your accommodation, or would rather not live on campus then we suggest websites like Flatmates, Gumtree, Sharehouses and Real Estate.
Another option for those who aren’t sure if they aren’t sure of the suburbs they’ve chosen, or if you’re thinking you’ll change cities. We recommend Airbnb or have a look at Stayz for more short term rental options. Keep in mind this is one of the most costly options as it’s usually for holiday leasing.
We could list down everything you need to know about renting, bond agreements, leases and more but why would we when the Government has made an awesome app dedicated to help renters out with all the information! Download RentRight which will answer all your technical/legal questions.. you know, boring but super important.
How to Set up Electricity, Water, Gas and Internet?
It’s pretty simple. You’ll need to provide your license, or passport number, full name, phone number, maybe email address for billing purposes, and address obviously. You never ever have to pay anything up front to set up an account, in fact usually companies give you free credits to join with them!
To find the best deals and discounts on Electricity and Gas I’d recommend Energy Made Easy, it’s actually a government run website and is non-bias so there is no incentive for particular energy companies to be promoted.
Regarding water, well you’ve usually only got one choice of water provider in your area as it’s regulated. Your council or real estate agent can help you identify your provider.
And for the one thing we can’t live without, WiFi! There’s actually no government comparator site we know off, but just google “wifi comparator” and a selection will come up. Just do your research in case the site you’re getting the comparison from is being paid big bucks to promote only one company. Note: Telstra, Optus, Vodafone are some of the most trusted but not the cheapest in all cases.
While you’re deciding on internet providers you can usually get a good deal of data on your phone plan, use the free WiFi at the library or cafes.
We hope this guide helps you pick the right accommodation for your stay, and remember if you don’t like it don’t feel pressured into signing any leases or having to stay in the premise.