Starting your search
Searching for accommodation off-campus can be time consuming and confusing. Your choice may depend on a number of factors:
- How close to the University do you want to be?
- Do you want to live on your own or with other people?
- Do you want to live in a quiet house or a busy social house?
- How much rent are you able to pay?
- Do you need to be near public transport?
- Do you want to be near any particular facilities, i.e. supermarket, leisure centre?
- Do you want to be close to the city or in a quiet residential suburb?
There are many off-campus accommodation options. The most popular ones are house-sharing and renting a property through an estate agent.
Note: We highly recommend that you do not sign any lease agreement/contract for any private property you have not yet seen. It is important that you inspect the property when you arrive unless you have a friend or relative here in Melbourne who is able to inspect the property for you.
Our staff are not able to inspect or book properties on your behalf, however, once you are here, we can assist you every step of the way on how to use the public transport system, apply for accommodation and how to inspect properties.
It is extremely important that you do not forward any money or bank account details to any private accommodation provider until you have had a chance to inspect the property to make sure that it fits with your requirements.
New students who do not wish to live on-campus should look for off-campus accommodation as soon as you have accepted a place at La Trobe. It is recommended that students first inspect private off campus accommodation to determine its suitability. You can search the accommodation database for off-campus options that match your required move-in date.
You may need to consider temporary accommodation (i.e. hostel, bed and breakfast) while you look for something permanent. Finding the right place to live can take time - we recommend allowing at least three weeks.
La Trobe Residential Services recommends that students familiarise themselves with the Residential Tenancies Act (1997) before entering into any agreement for off campus accommodation. Information on the Act and tenant and landlord responsibilities can be found at Consumer Affairs – Renting.
Sharing a rented house or flat with other people is generally the most economical, flexible and popular form of student housing. Some students choose to move into an existing shared-house, while others will organise a group to establish a new one. Make sure you are clear about what kind of household you want to live in and that you talk about this with your prospective housemates.
Usually, each person has their own bedroom. In most cases you will be expected to provide your own bedroom furniture. The bathroom, kitchen and living room are for everyone to share and maintain.
Each resident contributes to the cost of household goods, the security bond and gas, electricity and telephone charges. When establishing a new shared-house you will also need to pay for the connection of utilities. The rent is shared either evenly between housemates, or may be divided up depending on the room (e.g. very large rooms or rooms with en-suites may attract a higher rent).
Renting a house can be more expensive and prices vary according to size and location. You will also need to consider the cost of furnishings and white-goods if you rent an unfurnished property.
Furnished properties are sometimes available to rent but they are often significantly more expensive. However they are often a good choice for short-term students (6 months or less) as they don't have the additional costs associated with renting unfurnished properties, i.e. providing furniture.
Finding rental accommodation can be time consuming. You will need to inspect properties, submit application forms and understand your legal rights and responsibilities.
When inspecting a property:
- Check the security. Are there locks on windows and doors?
- Check for smoke alarms. Has an alarm been installed, as legally required?
- Look at heating and cooling systems. Is it the type that is going to cost a lot to run?
- Think about public transport. Where are the nearest bus stops, tram stops and train station?
- Think about parking. Is there enough parking for the cars housed at the residence? Most properties do not allow you to park cars on the lawn.
- Be neat and tidy – well presented.
- Have all of your documents ready so that you can apply on the spot if necessary
- Make sure you have your ID on you.
Before signing a tenancy or lease agreement, read it first. Consider:
- Rental period. How long is it? Is it monthly or fixed term?
- Lease breaking. What are the implications of moving out early?
- Notice period. How much notice do you need to provide if you want to move out early?
- Changes to the lease. If you wish to change names on the lease is there a fee and what is it?
Remember that a lease is a binding legal document. It could be expensive for you if you later change your mind and wish to break the lease.
Once you have moved in, you will be asked to sign a property condition report. Make sure you inspect every room carefully as well as the garden and outside buildings, and where there is damage, take photos and save them somewhere safe. This protects you against loss of bond money at the end of your tenancy for damage or losses for which you are not responsible. The report needs to be dated, signed and witnessed.
If you are having any trouble with your landlord please refer back to the Consumer Affairs website.
Alternative options – Bendigo
The Bendigo Student Association has extensive lists of home stay, shared rental properties and flats/houses to rent. The accommodation located close to campus tends to be in high demand and vacancies are usually filled well before the beginning of the academic year. Contact for the BSA on (03) 5444 7354 with your enquiry.
In January and February the lists are updated daily and it is essential to work from the latest list. We do not inspect places nor advise on suitability of off-campus accommodation. It is therefore essential for students to visit the places on the lists to discuss rents and leases, and meet the people who they may be sharing living arrangements. Home Stay (boarding) includes gas and electricity and option of meals provided or own cooking.
Shared rented property includes the sharing of rent, food, utilities and other expenses. Often students are required to provide their own bed, desk and furnishings.
Rented properties in Bendigo such as flats and houses are usually unfurnished. Prices vary depending on the size of the unit or house. Again the student is responsible for costs and providing appropriate furnishings and equipment. Usually real estate agents require tenants to sign leases for a one year period.
Alternative options – Melbourne
The following accommodation suppliers are not affiliated with La Trobe University. They are listed here for their proximity to campus only. Accommodation is listed in order of its proximity to the Melbourne campus - distances are approximate.
(Situated within one kilometre of campus)
Set in the Springthorpe housing estate on the campus bus route, in an old renovated federation building. BM Guest house offers double rooms with en-suite, twin and single rooms. Both short and long term accommodation is available.
(Situated within one kilometre of campus)
Privately managed by Student Housing Australia, Kingsbury Gardens offer 135 fully self contained apartments, most of which are singles but some two bedroom apartments are available. Kingsbury Gardens is also on the campus bus route.
(Situated within 2.3 kilometres of campus)
A short tram ride along Plenty Road will find you on the University Mews doorstep and close to supermarkets and restaurants. University Mews are managed privately owned 1, 2 or 3 bedroom units with private modern bathroom and fully equipped self-catering kitchen. Long term accommodation is the only option.
(Situated within ten kilometres of campus)
A privately run initiative, located in the suburb of Preston, Le Student 8 offers accommodation with all modern conveniences provided. About half an hour travel to campus by public transport.
Students are matched to a suitable Australian host according to their specific needs and the La Trobe University campus location. With Homestay, students have access to a fully-furnished room and amenities. You can concentrate on making the considerable transition to studying in an Australian tertiary institution, while receiving emotional and practical support from Homestay hosts. Most initial placements are for four (4) weeks.
NOTE: The provision of this information does not constitute an endorsement by La Trobe University of the merits of the housing provider. The University is simply providing you with information that may assist you in your accommodation search.