Frequently asked questions
The University of Melbourne Student Housing website is your best starting point and resource. We have an online noticeboard of available rental and shared accommodation as well as useful information about your housing options, moving to Melbourne, costs of living in Melbourne, your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, where to get advice and assistance, and much more.
You can research options on our online housing noticeboard and web site. It is preferable to allow 3 or 4 weeks to personally inspect rooms/apartments/houses in Melbourne. Please be aware of the risks of directly transferring money from outside Australia.
Try to arrive in Melbourne early and allow 4 weeks before Orientation or enrolment activities for securing your accommodation.
You can always try to negotiate with the landlord/agent for a shorter lease. You might want to consider share house or boarding options, because these tend to be more flexible with length of stay. If you sign a lease for longer than you plan to stay, then be prepared to pay lease break costs or to find a suitable replacement tenant.
A co-tenancy is where two or more tenants are named on the lease. Co-tenants are jointly and severally liable under the lease, which means that the landlord can pursue any or all of the co-tenants for loss/damage incurred, eg unpaid rent. Co-tenancy is the usual arrangement for share houses.
A sub-let is where a tenant in a property rents out a room or rooms or the entire property to another tenant. The first tenant is called the head-tenant, and has the rights/duties of a landlord in relation to the second tenant, the sub-tenant. The landlord's written consent is required.
A bond is security deposit to be held in trust for the duration of your tenancy. You pay your bond to the landlord or their real estate agent at the start of your tenancy. The landlord can claim against the bond for the cost of repairing the damage or lost rent. If you have paid your rent and leave the property in a reasonably clean condition (and undamaged), you should expect to have your bond refunded at the end of your tenancy.
Bond is usually equal to one month’s rent in advance.
Residential Tenancies Bond Authority - a government body which holds bonds on trust.
Speak with the agent/landlord and inform them of their duty to lodge the bond. If still not lodged, complain to Consumer Affairs Victoria.
If your bond was lodged and your landlord agrees not to make a claim against your bond, you both sign and submit a Bond Claim form to the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA). If your bond was not lodged, you should make an appointment to see a housing adviser. Also see Bond return.
If you leave before the end of fixed term tenancy, or "break" your lease, it can be very expensive. You are typically liable for advertising costs, a re-letting fee and rent until the property is re-let. You should try to find a replacement tenant before vacating. Please see a housing adviser if you plan to break your lease.
The Student Housing Access Program (SHAP) offers apartments in a University-owned apartment block. See SHAP – Student Housing Access program for more information on the SHAP program and SHAP student selection criteria.
In Melbourne, real estate agents don't escort prospective tenants to different apartments or houses. The prospective tenant (you) does all the work, and needs to find his/her own way to the properties, often at set times (open for inspection times are usually a 15 minute window of opportunity for prospective tenants to inspect the premises).
It would be impossible for our Housing Service to find accommodation for all incoming students. Besides, do you really want someone else deciding where you will live and how much you will pay for the next 6 to12 months? You are the only person who knows what you like and don’t like; how far you would like to travel; how much you are prepared to pay, etc. Your accommodation/housing is a very imporant and personal choice.
Rooming house accommodation is where you rent a room in a privately-owned building that has one or more rooms available for rent to four or more people (who are not necessarily students), and you share common facilities. Rooming houses should be registered with the local council and must meet some minimum standards.
Boarding or homestay involves renting a room in your landlord’s home, with 3 or fewer boarders living at the property, while living in a rooming house involves renting a room/bed in a property where there are 4 or more residents renting a room/bed and shared kitchen/bathroom facilities. Rooming houses are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1997 (Vic) whereas boarding arrangements are not, though consumer law is applicable. Please see a housing adviser if you are unsure about whether to move in to either option.