Frequently asked questions
What are my off-campus accommodation options?
You can choose from a range of off-campus accommodation options.
- Share Housing
Sharing a rented house or flat with other people is generally the most economical, flexible and popular form of off-campus accommodation. You might choose to move into an existing shared-house, or organise a group to establish a new shared house.
Usually, each person in a shared house has their own bedroom and contributes to the cost of household goods, the bond (security deposit), gas, electricity, water and telephone charges. 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.
Some considerations prior to moving into a shared household –
- Current lease agreement
- Household expectations and rules (cooking, cleaning, system for paying bills)
- People who may be moving out or moving in to the household
- Your room (privacy, size and furnishings)
- Safety inside and outside the property
Tip: The Residential Tenancies Act (1997) does not differentiate between the rights and obligations of co-tenants in relation to each other.If you find yourself in a dispute with another tenant, the Dispute Settlement Centre of Victoria (DSCV) provides a free dispute mediation service.
- Rooming Houses
A rooming house is a building where one or more rooms are available to rent, and four or more people in total can occupy those rooms.
A rooming house resident is a person who rents a room in a rooming house as their only or main residence. A resident does not need to have a tenancy agreement to live in a rooming house.
The Minister for Housing can also declare a property as a rooming house.
Also, in most rooming houses:
- residents share bathrooms, kitchens, laundries and other common areas
- the owner and their family do not generally live on the premises, and
- separate rental agreements may exist for different residents.
A rooming house resident can have:
- an ‘exclusive room right’, where they occupy the room alone or with people they choose to share it with
- a ‘shared room right’, where the rooming house owner can choose the other occupants of the room.
If you live in a house or property where there’s one of more rooms available for rent and the total number of people occupying these rooms are four or more it may be classified as a rooming house. Bedrooms are usually furnished and you can rent your own locked bedroom (single room) or share a bedroom with others (dorm room). You also share the house common facilities such as kitchen, laundry, bathroom and living areas. Rooming houses are a good option if you enjoy living in a communal environment.
Tip: Rooming house operators are required to comply with minimum standards which relate to privacy, security, safety and amenities.You can view the minimum standards at Consumer Affairs Victoria.
- Private rental vacancies
This option includes units, flats, houses, self-contained bungalows and apartments. By living in a private rental you have the opportunity to live independently and to be responsible for all aspects of your tenancy. This can be one of the more expensive options as you are solely responsible for meeting costs such as the bond, rent in advance, gas, electricity, water, moving expenses and furnishings.
Tip: Ensure you fully understand the terms and conditions of a lease agreement before you sign. It can be expensive to break a lease if you change your mind.
- Commercially operated student apartments
If you are interested in living independently with access to common facilities this may be a good option. Rooms come fully furnished and (if you are not sharing with others) you have your own bathroom and kitchen facilities. There are different types of accommodation within apartments you can choose from such as; studio room, one bedroom, two bedroom and twin share.
Tip: As with private rentals, ensure you fully understand the terms and conditions of an agreement for a student apartment before you sign.
In a boarding arrangement, you live with the owner/occupier of a home. Meals and other support may be provided and your room is usually fully furnished. This option can be appealing as it gives you the opportunity to be supported in a home environment.
Tip: It is a good idea to discuss any house expectations prior to moving in.
What is a lease and why do I need to sign one?
A tenancy agreement, also called a lease, can be in writing or verbal. A lease can apply for a fixed term (for example 6 or 12 months) or be periodic (generally month to month).
Applying for a residential tenancy agreement:
What is a bond and do I need to pay it?
A bond is a security deposit (usually equal to one month’s rent) that you pay to the landlord at the start of your tenancy. When you pay a bond the landlord should sign a Bond Lodgement Form and give you the form to sign. The form should then be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority within 10 days.
If at the end of your tenancy the landlord believes you damaged the property or if you have unpaid rent they make a claim for all or a part of your bond as compensation.
The Tenancy Union of Victoria produces a useful fact sheet on bonds.
Tip: Check that you receive a receipt for the bond.
What is a condition report?
The condition report provides evidence of the condition of the property when you moved in. It documents cleanliness, fixtures and fittings and existing damage.
The report is essential as it may help you defend a bond claim or compensation claim for damage or cleaning costs at the conclusion of your tenancy.
Ensure you go through the property room by room and make comments on the condition report if you find any damage (such as marks on the walls, carpet stains etc.). Once the form is completed and signed return it to the landlord within three business days of moving into the premises.
Tip: We recommend you take photos of the property, this will help to support your comments on the condition report.
More information about the condition report.
I am new to renting, where can I get more information?
Contact Accommodation Services for general information about renting. If you need tenancy advice or advocacy support contact the La Trobe Student Union or Bendigo Student Association (Bendigo students).
This is my first time in Melbourne, therefore how am I meant to find my way around to look at rental properties?
To locate the accommodation, you can use WhereIs or Google Maps or buy a Melways (a very useful street directory). If you study at the Melbourne campus, you should become familiar with Melbourne's transportation system by visiting The Public Transport Victoria website. La Trobe International staff are always happy to assist students with information on how to get about campus and its surrounds. During orientation there will also be Student Hosts available to assist new students getting an understanding of the local area and other issues.
How do I search for placement/short term accommodation?
Finding short term or placement accommodation is easy on our studystays website.
- Log in (or register) as a student.
- Search for potential accommodation by clicking on the “Rooms” tab.
- Select the campus which is closest to your placement venue (ie. City Campus)
- Select “Yes” beside Placement Accommodation.
- Click “Find”
All rooms that are available for short-medium term accommodation will now appear.
Do real estate agencies offer advice to prospective tenants?
Most real estate agencies have a section on their websites with advice for prospective and current tenants. These pages often have information about how to apply for a property and information on important documents you may need to complete before, during and after your tenancy.
The following agencies have detailed webpages dedicated to providing information and advice to prospective and current tenants.
Does La Trobe University offer storage for students?
Unfortunately La Trobe University does not offer storage facilities. There are many local private providers that do offer storage for students.
Mighty Box Self Storage
Phone: (03) 9478 0108
Kings Self Storage
Phone: (03) 9465 2800
Phone: (03) 1800 100 700
Is off-campus accommodation more expensive than on-campus accommodation?
Many factors will influence this. Although the weekly rental price may appear a lot cheaper than the colleges, you will have to consider the cost of furniture, utility bills, transport, etc. Consult the living costs, where we have estimated annual costs, and compared different accommodation types.
I have never lived away from home before. What type of accommodation should I choose?
La Trobe International recommends that young students and students who have not yet lived out of home think very seriously of living on campus or in Homestay. If you choose these types of accommodation, you will have friendly people around to assist you with advice on transport, living skills and Australian culture, while you make the considerable transition to studying in an Australian university.
I have found a rental property, what next?
Before signing any contract or lease, the real estate agent should give you a lot of information about your rights and obligations when renting the property. During the International Welcome Festival Orientation there is also a special information session on housing, where you can ask questions and get help. At LTI you can also collect some information leaflets about renting, bonds and tenants rights. Other excellent sources of information are the Residential Services and the Tenants Union websites.