Signing a lease on your own for an apartment, flat or house can offer you an independent lifestyle and privacy. You decide how you spend your money and how the property will be established. It can however be very expensive if you choose to live by yourself, as you are solely responsible for rent payments, connection fees for utilities and ongoing bills.
Searching for properties
Properties are usually advertised through real estate websites and newspapers. You can rent a property through a real estate agent or directly from the landlord/owner of the property.
Allow several weeks before Orientation in order to find a suitable property. Demand is high right before the beginning of semester. Don't settle on an unsatisfactory place out of desperation – it can be difficult to break your lease if you decide you want to vacate.
Be prepared to inspect at least 7 to 10 places – the more properties you see, the better able you will be to assess whether a property meets your needs and is reasonably priced.
Where to look
Most real estate websites list the same properties, but may offer unique features such as saving lists of properties or setting up property alerts.
Once you have selected a few properties you will then have to arrange an inspection. You can do this by contacting the real estate agent or landlord to arrange a time to view the property, or by attending an open inspection.
Open for Inspection (OFI)
- Open for Inspection (OFI) times are an advertised time where people can view the property.
- Be on time as inspections are only for 30 minutes.
Keys in office (KIO)
- Keys in office (KIO) listings allow you to collect keys and inspect the property without an agent or landlord present.
- You will need to collect a key and inspect the property during business hours. Remember to ask if there is a time limit for the return of the key.
- You will be asked for a ‘key deposit’ (usually $50 per property) and will need photo identification and be prepared to pay the real estate agent a key deposit when collecting key. Make sure you ask for a receipt for this deposit.
- Your deposit will be refunded when you return the key to the agent.
When you're in the property
Thoroughly inspect the property and make sure that everything is in good working order. Ensure you are happy with the condition of the property before signing a tenancy agreement, as once this is signed you have accepted the property as it is.
The Tenants Union of Victoria produce some great resources for students including a Property Inspection Checklist.
Holding and application deposits
The agent/landlord may ask for an application or holding deposit. If your application is unsuccessful, the deposit must be returned to you in full within fourteen days of its receipt. If your application is successful, the deposit is put towards the bond or the first month’s rent
Starting a tenancy
Please see Tenancy advice section for further information about:
- Preparing you application
- Calculating rent
- Lease agreements
- Condition reports