What all international students need to know before renting in Victoria

Tens of thousands of excited students will walk through the international terminal at Melbourne Airport this summer. Eager and nervous, they make up the 175,000 strong group of international students calling Victoria 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 are 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 Victorians
  • You have travelled to Victoria 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 at consumer.vic.gov.au/rentright 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 Victoria 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 cute koala to hug.

Source: Consumer Affairs Victoria | Department of Justice & Regulation