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What All International Students Need to Know Before Renting

This article has been provided by Consumer Affairs Victoria. They are a business unit of the Department of Justice & Regulation, within the Victorian government. Their purpose is to help Victorians be responsible and informed businesses and consumers.

Tens of thousands of excited students will walk through the international terminal this summer. Eager and nervous, they make up the 645,000 strong group of international students calling Australia home as they complete their studies.

Before seeing a kangaroo and hugging a koala, students will try to settle in their new home town, opening a bank account, setting up a new mobile number, enrolling in studies, and perhaps most importantly – finding a great local cafe.

Relocating to a new city will naturally include tracking down a place to stay, somewhere close to their place of study with convenient transport links. With many options available, students have a variety of different accommodation types on offer to suit individual needs and budgets.

Renting in a brand new city can have its challenges. One international student reported not understanding the rental laws, resulting in his first landlord keeping the bond, which the student was entitled to have returned to him. Another said they paid for accommodation upfront online, which turned out to look a lot different in real life than it did online.

Reports of landlords taking advantage of international students are not common, however it is important that international students know that they have rights, and aware of how to exercise them.

Consumer Affairs Victoria, the state’s authority that provides information to consumers on renting, has a few handy tips to newly arrived students looking for accommodation:

  • Yes, you are an international student – but you have the same renting rights as all Australians
  • You have travelled to Australia to study, so why not learn more about your renting rights and responsibilities at consumer.vic.gov.au/internationalstudents
  • Got a smart phone? Check out the free RentRight app for more information and help to avoid renting problems.

Understanding of renting rights and responsibilities are key to ensuring a smooth transition to life in Australia and finding a suitable place to live. Once the accommodation is arranged, it is time to study hard, meet some friends, explore new surroundings and finally find that is cute koala to hug.

Learn more about your rental rights and responsibilities in your state:

VIC – Consumer Affairs Victoria

NSW – NSW Fair Trading and Tenants Advice & Advocacy Services NSW

QLD – Tenants Queensland and Residential Tenancies Authority

WA – WA Department of Commerce and Tenancy WA

SA – Consumer and Business Services (CBS) and Tenants Information and Advisory Service

TAS – The Tenants’ Union of Tasmania and Consumer Affairs and Trading

NT – Tenants’ Advice Service and Consumer Affairs Northern Territory

ACT – Tenants’ Advice Service

If you have a renting question or problem in Victoria, visit Consumer Affairs Victoria – International Students or call on 1300 55 81 81.