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Location is one of the most important factors in deciding where to live. UNSW is located in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, south east of the central business district.
The univeristy is accessible by public transport (buses) and takes approximately 10 - 15 minutes from Central Station. Visit ‘suburbs overview’ for information on the local surrounding areas and private rental price guides.
Once you arrive in Sydney you can spend some time getting to know the different areas before deciding where to live. It’s a great way to test public transport routes and explore local offerings.
The demand for housing is high in Sydney, especially in the weeks leading up to the start of semester. We recommend arriving 3 – 4 weeks before orientation week to ensure that you have enough time to find housing before semester starts.
Only short-term accommodation and UNSW Residential Colleges and Apartments should be pre-arranged.
We highly recommend long term private rental accommodation only be arranged once you arrive in Sydney. We recommend this so you can inspect properties and make an informed decision on location, price, safety and proximity to public transport. It also reduces the risk of exposure to rental scams which often pretend to have properties available for rent and ask for money upfront.
Never send or give anyone you don’t know any money without inspecting inside the property and using good judgement.
Once you’ve made some decisions on what is important to you, it’s time to start considering suitable suburbs. Below is an interactive map that shows different suburbs and the approximate prices of private rentals.
View UNSW Rental Accommodation Information map in a larger map
Sharing a house or unit with others is generally one of the cheapest options available. A shared house/unit means all household members have their own bedroom but share the rest of the premises such as the kitchen, living room, bathroom and laundry. In a share house/unit you will usually divide the rent and utilities amongst all household members.
With shared accommodation arrangements you may first find a group of people you want to live with and inspect properties together or you may find a room to rent in an already established share house/unit.
Most share house/units will be covered by formal tenancy agreements which protect your rights as a tenant and also protect the rights of the landlord. These are also known as ‘lease agreements’. Your rights and obligations as a tenant are set out in the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. Ask about the tenancy arrangements when you inspect shared accommodation.
To protect yourself and your living situation, always ask to be listed on the tenancy agreement where possible.
For more information about tenancy arrangements please see types of arrangements and starting a tenancy in the below drop down menus.
Resource: Share Housing Survival Guide (NSW)
Most private rental properties in Australia are rented unfurnished. Fridges, washing machines and dryers are rarely included in rental properties. Sometimes you may find a unit which includes a washing machine and/or dryer, and some older unit blocks may have shared coin operated laundry facilities.
When inspecting a property always look to see what is included and if you are not sure, ask! Buying or renting a fridge and washing machine will add to your set-up costs of a new private rental.
Some rental properties closer to UNSW may be furnished or partly furnished by the landlord. The term 'furnished' can mean anything from just furnishing the living room or a bedroom to the whole house/unit. Usually the rental advertisement will contain information on what is included but always confirm with the landlord/agent. Most furnished properties are likely include to a bed (not bedding linen) a fridge (but not kitchen equipment) a lounge/sofa (but not a TV) and probably no washing machine.
If you move into a furnished property make sure you thoroughly inspect the furnishings and record any damage on the condition report.
Sydney is a safe city by world standards, but you should never be complacent with your own personal safety.
Make sure you consider how safe the property is, especially if you have late classes, work late or if you are on campus after hours.
Two major points to consider is how close the property is to public transport and to make sure all external doors and windows have adequate locks.
Four weeks before you commence classes you will be invited to complete the UNSW Online Safety and Wellbeing Tutorial which provides important safety information while you are living in Sydney.
It is important to protect yourself against potential property scams when looking for accommodation. This is why we recommend you arrange your private long term accommodation when you arrive in Sydney so you can view properties and make informed decisions.
There are many types of scams and the Australian Government has set up a website SCAMwatch to help you protect yourself.
Fake rental properties and shared accommodation listings notice from SCAMwatch
Formal tenancy agreements
Credit Tenants NSW source www.tenants.org.au
As a tenant you have rights under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and Residential Tenancies Regulation 2010. The Act and the regulations set out a standard residential tenancy agreement that gives rights and obligations to landlords and tenants.
What this means is when you rent a property in NSW you have a standard formal agreement with the landlord. This agreement protects your rights as a tenant to enjoy your home peacefully and protects the landlord from tenants who may not pay rent or take due care of the property.
The Act covers private tenants who have a written or oral residential tenancy agreement.
People in share housing are generally covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. For further information on share housing look at ‘Share Housing’ under ‘Types of Arrangements.’
Your rights and obligations under the Act can be viewed here.
Credit TenantsNSW source www.tenants.org.au
People in share housing usually have their own bedroom and share the rest of the premises. Your rights and obligations will depend on your legal status. You may be:
Co-tenants, head-tenants and sub-tenants have rights and obligations under the Residential Tenancies Act 2010. Boarders and lodgers do not – see Boarders and Lodgers for more details.
Your name and the names of other tenant/s are on the tenancy agreement for the premises. You share rights and obligations with the other co-tenant/s.
You are a tenant (your name is on the tenancy agreement for the premises), you live at the premises and sub-let part of the premises to another person under a separate written agreement. That person is a sub-tenant.
You are a landlord in relation to the sub-tenant. For information about your rights and obligations as a head-tenant, www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au.
You are sharing with a tenant (their name is on the tenancy agreement for the premises) who has sub-let part of the premises to you under a separate written agreement. That person is a head-tenant. You have the rights and obligations of a tenant in relation to the head-tenant – they are your landlord.
Boarder or lodger
You are a boarder or lodger if you rent part of the premises from:
They are your landlord.
People in share housing are generally covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 and Regulation.
Boarders and Lodgers
Credit TenantsNSW source www.tenants.org.au
Boarders and lodgers are renters who pay for the right to occupy residential premises but who not covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 2010.
The Act excludes specific types of premises and types of agreement from its coverage. If you rent in one of the following types of premises, or under one of the following types of agreements, you will be excluded from the Act.
Types of premises:
Types of agreement:
Unlike tenants, boarders and lodgers do not have the right to exclusive occupation of the premises – the landlord retains ‘mastery’ over the premises.
Boarders usually get meals as part of their agreement whereas lodgers do not.
Renting in a boarding house
If you rent a room in a boarding house, whether you are a boarder/lodger or a tenant will depend on how much control the landlord (or live-in manager or caretaker) has over the premises.
You are likely to be a tenant rather than a boarder/lodger, if you:
More information about boarders and lodgers can be found at TenantsNSW
Credit Redfern Legal Centre, source www.sharehousing.org
Some vacancies may be advertised as ‘homestay’, which may include meals and pick-up services. For some international students, this may be an opportunity to stay with a family, improve their English and learn more about Australia. However, homestays can be costly and living with a host family could mean that you don’t have as much freedom – for example, the host family may have set mealtimes or curfews.
Two Homestay companies UNSW uses are:
It is important to formalise any living arrangement verbally or in writing (preferably in the standard residential tenancy agreement if you believe you are a tenant).
If you do not believe you are considered a tenant, boarder or lodger, contact your local Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service to discuss your situation.
Moving into a private rental
Bond: This is a security paid by the tenant and held by the Renting Services of NSW Fair Trading for the duration of the tenancy. The most bond you can be required to pay is an amount equal to four weeks rent. At the end of the tenancy, the bond should be returned to you in full unless you are behind in your rent or have damaged the property, in which case the landlord can claim for their losses.
You will be required to pay bond and two weeks rent in advance.
At the start of every tenancy, the landlord or agent must give you a copy of a Fair Trading publication called New Tenant Checklist. The New tenant checklist is a fact sheet that contains important information you should be aware of before signing a new lease. Make sure you read it carefully and ask your landlord or agent about anything you do not understand.
You should also be given a copy of your lease and two copies of the premises condition report, which you should fill in and then return one of the copies to your landlord or agent within 7 days. You should take your time to fill it out with as much detail and accuracy as possible.
The condition report will be a key piece of evidence at the end of the tenancy if there is a dispute about who should pay for cleaning, damage or the replacement of missing items. For more information, go to the Filling Out a Condition Report page on the NSW Fair Trading website.
A helpful video can be watched here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PicOBKKXIZk
Moving into an established share house
When you move into an establish share house you will most likely be required to pay bond to the out-going person along with two weeks rent in advance.
Where possible, make sure you review any original condition report as there may be new damage you could be liable for. Have your name included on the tenancy agreement or a written agreement with the head-tenant and your name included on the bond form held with the Renting Services of NSW Fair Trading.
Once you have signed the lease, completed the condition report and settled into your new home, circumstances can change and you will need to know what to do and how to handle each situation.
The NSW Fair Trading website outlines common issues that may arise during your tenancy and how to deal with them, including:
Depending on your accommodation arrangement will determine how your tenancy may end. Generally, to end your tenancy you will need to give written notice to the landlord or agent.
Your landlord may terminate your agreement
You may terminate your agreement if:
There is a breach of agreement by either party terminating the agreement:
The information on the following pages covers other issues about ending a tenancy: