Accommodation tips & tricks

1. Go and see the place in person before you pay any money

Does it feel safe? Is it clean? How far is it from the University? Does the WIFI work or do you have to connect WIFI? Don’t rush into paying money. If you miss out on this place there will be others.

2. Find out who else will live there

How many people will live there? Who are they? Would you be happy living with them?

3. Find out who the landlord is

Get the full name, home address and contact details of your landlord and/or details of the real estate agent.

4. Make sure you understand your rights and responsibilities as a tenant

Before you sign a tenancy agreement or move into the property, the landlord or agent must give you a copy of the ‘tenant information statement’ (Chinese, Indonesian, Arabic, Nepali, Farsi and other languages). Information about tenancy rights and responsibilities can also be found on the Tenants’ Union of NSW website.

5. Ask for a written agreement or use a sample share housing agreement

If the landlord won’t give you one or doesn’t agree to sign a sample agreement (from Tenants NSW website), then there might be a problem.  If you get an agreement and are not sure what it means, or think it is unfair, get legal advice.

6. Check how long you have to stay

Is it a fixed term or a continuing term tenancy? Check the tenancy agreement (contract). Make sure you are happy with how long you agree to stay and what is written in the agreement. Leaving before the end of your agreement may result in the landlord keeping your bond (security payment) and you having to pay rent until the end of your agreement.

7. Find out the bond (security payment) amount and how much rent you need to pay in advance

Don’t pay more than 4 weeks of rent as bond and more than 2 weeks rent in advance. The landlord/agent must deposit the bond with NSW Fair Trading within 10 working days after it is paid. Fair Trading NSW also provides an online service for payment, management, and return of bonds.

8. Get written receipts for any money you pay

Make sure receipts have details of the property, who you are paying to, your name, the date, the amount and what it is for e.g. bond, rent.

9. Complete a condition report

You can use a sample condition report (from Fair Trading NSW) and/or take photos as a record of the condition of the property when you first moved in and email it to yourself or the landlord. The more details you keep the better. If you notice any problems, tell the landlord about it straight away.

10. If you have any questions or problems get free tenancy advice

Seeking advice from a Government organisation or legal service about your accommodation or other issues will not impact on your student visa or lead to a visa cancellation. Only the Minister can cancel your visa and more information can be found on the Department of Home Affairs website.