Questions to ask
It is helpful to think about the following questions before you start looking for accommodation.
What rent can you afford?
Budgeting for your rental costs is essential as part of your planning. Australian resident students may be eligible for rent assistance through Centrelink. Please note that this is not available for International students.
See also: Costs of living
Do you want to live on or off campus?
If you want to live off campus, will you be relying on public transport? If so, consider living near the University or on a bus route.
Will you be considering part-time work while you study?
Think of where you will look for work and how you will get to your workplace.
What sort of space are you looking for?
The layout of the house/flat etc is important, particularly if you are sharing with others.
Do you want your own room?
Do you need a quiet place for study, strong light for design drawings, access to a computer, or an area to practise music?
Are you willing to share bathroom and kitchen facilities?
If not, a one-bedroom apartment off campus is your only option and this can prove expensive.
Do you want meals provided?
If so, do you have any special dietary requirements, such as vegetarian, Halal or Kosher food? If you want to live off campus and don’t want to cook for yourself, you will need to choose full-board accommodation. In some share households people share food and cooking. You should check the cooking arrangements in any accommodation you are considering.
Will you need furniture?
All on-campus and home-board rooms are furnished, but most rental properties are unfurnished. Many students reduce the cost of furnishing their homes by buying second-hand furniture at garage sales, second-hand shops or markets (such as the car park at the Taxation Office in Albury on a Sunday). Garage sales and second-hand goods are listed in The Border Mail.
How long will you need accommodation for?
If it is for less than six months, you will probably have difficulty getting a lease on a whole vacant property. Short-term off-campus options include home board, share accommodation and hostel-type accommodation.
Are you willing to sign a lease?
Leases for private rental properties are usually for a minimum of six or twelve months. A lease is designed to protect your legal rights as a tenant and those of the agent/owner.
Who will be responsible for household utility bills?
If your name is on a utility bill (e.g. electricity, phone, gas) you are legally responsible for payment. In share accommodation situations, it is best to ensure all co-tenants share the responsibility and have their names on all the bills.
Do you know your legal rights and responsibilities?
Before you start a tenancy (sign a lease or pay a bond), it is advisable to know your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant, and those of the agent/owner. Ask the Accommodation Officer for a copy of Renting: Your Rights and Responsibilities or contact one of the following services for further information:
Consumer and Tenancy Advice Service, UMFC
T: (+61 3) 6022 8000
Albury Community Housing
T: (+61 2) 6021 8844