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Finding housing and accommodation

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Finding a property

Affordable accommodation in Sydney is difficult to find. For most students their biggest budget item is rent.

Questions to consider when choosing accommodation include how much you can afford to spend on rent, what facilities you require, and how much control you’d like to have over your accommodation.

The University produces an excellent accommodation guide that explains the different types of accommodation both on and off campus.

Tips for finding the right accommodation

  1. Check the University Accommodation Service’s accommodation database.
  2. Some useful Facebook groups include Inner West Housemates (Newtown, Enmore, Marrickville etc.); Inner East Housemates (Surry Hills, Darlington, Redfern etc.); and Queer Housing Sydney (for LGBTQI+ friendly accommodation).
  3. The Tenants’ Union of NSW’s rent-tracker lists average rents for all Sydney local government areas.
  4. It’s a good idea to rent somewhere that has access to public transport. Buses are less reliable than trains, so it’s good to live near a train station.
  5. Express trains make it easier to live further from campus. For example, Parramatta is about 25kms from Camperdown campus, but less than 25 minutes to Redfern Station by express train.
  6. If you have a car, you’ll need to consider parking options. Some properties don’t include off-street parking, or have limited parking spots. Also, parking on or near main campus is limited.
  7. If you’re a local student on a low income, and you’re finding it difficult to pay bond for a private rental, you may be able to apply for a bond loan from the NSW Government Family and Community Services.

Tips for protecting your rights

  • don’t pay or sign anything until you’ve inspected the property
  • keep copies of all documentation, which should include a written agreement, a condition report, and receipts for any payments you make, such as bond or security deposit and rent
  • get the full legal name and residential address of the person you’re renting from (the property owner, their rental agent, or the leaseholder)
  • take photos of everything in the property when you are doing your condition report, make sure they are date stamped
  • when issues arise, communicate with your landlord (or head tenant) in writing (email or letter are best, but SMS or messaging are OK too – just make sure you keep a copy so you can print it off later if you need to)
  • keep copies of all correspondence with the person you are renting from
  • by law, your bond must be deposited with Fair Trading (not in the landlord’s or agent’s bank account) – if you don’t receive a notice confirming the lodgement of the bond, contact Fair Trading to find out whether your bond was deposited (if the landlord/agent doesn’t deposit the bond within the required period, they can be fined up to $2,200)
  • read more about tenancy law: before you move in, during your tenancy and moving out

Are your homeless, or facing homelessness?

In most situations, you can’t be lawfully evicted without an order from the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (NCAT). This means your landlord or head tenant can’t change locks or throw out your goods until you’ve had an opportunity to seek professional advice.

Further assistance

Our Legal Service and our Advocacy Service can provide you with free advice and assistance with tenancy matters. You can also contact your local Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service for free advice and assistance.

If you have nowhere to stay you can contact Link2Home on 1800 152 152 for referrals to accommodation providers and other support services. This is a free 24-hour service provided by the NSW Government. If you need somewhere to stay because of domestic violence, you can call the Link2Home domestic violence line: 1800 656 463

Sydney University students who require emergency accommodation may be able to stay at STUCCO, a student managed housing cooperative located in Newtown. Contact us for a referral.

The University also offers emergency accommodation for a limited period of 2 weeks. Contact us for a referral and information.

More information

Disclaimer

This information is current as at December 2019 and where it includes legal information is intended as a guide to the law as it applies to people who live in or are affected by the law as it applies in NSW. It does not constitute legal advice.

Need more help?

Student Advice and Advocacy Service

Our Student Advice and Advocacy Officers (SAAOs) can help with academic and wellbeing issues, such as academic appeals, renting and supervision.

Read more about the SUPRA SAAO Service

Legal Service

Our Legal Service solicitors can help with a range of legal issues, including migration law*, intellectual property, contracts, fines and criminal law.

Read more about the SUPRA Legal Service

*MARNs 1911813, 1912229