Frequently asked questions

Students

What’s the difference between vacant, share or board accommodation?

Vacant is when a property is currently vacant and you start a lease on the property. Share is when someone already is living in a property and they have a vacant room they want to fill. If you have some friends who you want to live with then you may look at the rentals together and find something that suits your needs. Otherwise if you are by yourself and happy to share with someone then you would look at the Shared advertisements.

Board usually involves staying in a room of a private home, often with a family. Rooms are usually full or part furnished and sometimes meals are included in your boarding fee. If the provider has not given these details in their listing, you will need to confirm what they are providing for their specified fee.
 

What costs should I expect?

Bond: Approx 4 – 6 times the weekly rent

Rent in advance: this is usually 2 weeks rent

If you are moving into a property that is not currently occupied you will have extra connection charges on your first utility bills for electricity, gas and phones.
 

What is a lease?

It is a requirement of the Act that landlords or their agents must offer the tenant a written tenancy agreement (lease) before the start of a tenancy. The lease sets out the rights and obligations of all parties. A tenant should always insist on being given a copy of the lease. In the event that the law is broken and a tenancy exists without a written lease the Act protects the tenant in the same manner as if a written agreement had been signed.
 

The tenancy agreement comes in two parts:
Part 1 – sets out the terms of the agreement between the landlord/agent and the tenant.
Part 2 – is the condition report that describes the condition of the property at the time the tenant moves in.


Fixed-term agreement
The fixed-term agreement is a defined period of the tenancy which is written into the lease.
This is usually 6 or 12 months but the parties can agree to have a tenancy agreement for any length of time.
When the fixed-term period ends the tenancy agreement does not end unless it is terminated by the tenant or the landlord.


Condition report
The tenant and landlord report the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy in the condition report.
The landlord/agent generally completes the condition report first and then gives two copies to the tenant to record their assessment of the property. The tenant has 7 days to fill in both copies and return one to the landlord/agent. The tenant keeps the other copy.
 

What should I expect when sharing accommodation?

Useful information about share housing can be found on the Redfern Legal Centres Share Housing Survival Guide - http://www.rlc.org.au/sharehousing/living.html.

When should I start looking for accommodation?

As soon as you get an offer. If your first preference is to live on-campus you will need to wait for the ballot to be done before you know whether you will need to find other alternative accommodation. You will find the date out for this by looking at the on-campus accommodation website

I have contacted a few places and they are already taken?

We do ask that the providers of the accommodation make their own amendments to their property listings. This involves indicating when it is fully occupied, so that it can be made inactive. Both your time and theirs will not be wasted with inquiries. If you ring a provider and they tell you it is currently occupied please politely let them know it would be good idea update the accommodation details on the website.

What happens if I want to end the tenancy early?

If you want to end the tenancy agreement early you should give as much notice as possible, preferably in writing. Keep a copy of the letter. Breaking an agreement can be costly to you. A landlord can claim compensation for any loss suffered as a result of you ending a tenancy agreement early, so try and come to an agreement with the landlord/agent.
 

Notice periods: In the last 14 days of the fixed-term period of the agreement, either party can give 14 days notice to end the tenancy. This notice can be served up to and including the last day of the fixed term.
Once the fixed-term period has ended you are required to give at least 21 days notice. The landlord or agent must give you at least 60 days notice.

Where can I find out about my rights as a tenant and what my landlord expects?

Tenants NSW is a useful website, which includes an on-line copy of the "Tenants Rights Manual" as well as Tenancy Fact Sheets, covering topics such as starting a tenancy, bond, boarders & lodgers, sharehousing, repairs, how to give notice, etc. They also offer a free advisory service.

The NSW Office of Fair Trading handles matters relating to the "Residential Tenancies Act" - the act covering tenancy law. It also publishes "The renting guide, your basic rights and responsibilities as a tenant". Their website includes a section for tenants.

In Victoria for free confidential advice, assistance and advocacy visit the Tenants Union of Victoria website.

How do I know if the accommodation is safe?

It is important you to check the property will be suitable for your needs and that you will feel safe there. The Off Campus Accommodation website is an information service only.

CSU does not check the property or the landlord. However, CSU reserves the right to withdraw providers from the website at any time if complaints regarding providers are received.

Am I able to have pets?

On the accommodation listings we do ask if pets are allowed. There will only be a limited number of properties which allow pets, so please take notice of this when you are searching if this is important to you.

Furniture?

Advertisements on the website will specify if they are not, part or fully furnished. You may need to contact the accommodation provider to confirm what furniture is included and what you are expected to supply.