International students’ rental rights

Important_infoAre you trying to find the right place to live while you’re studying in Victoria? Wondering if you should rent a room you’ve seen advertised online, or find a house to share with friends?

Many international students face this challenge. But there are a few things you can do to ‘rent smart’ and avoid problems.

Consumer Affairs Victoria is the government agency providing information and advice about renting in Victoria. Their website has information to help you understand your renting rights and avoid common problems. Their renting information is provided in many languages including Chinese, Korean, Arabic and Hindi.

It is important to view rental accommodation yourself, so you can be sure it is of the standard that was advertised. Your property should offer privacy, cleanliness, security and safety. Don’t pay a deposit or bond until you have viewed the property.

If you pay a bond for your accommodation, the landlord or owner must lodge this with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) and give you a receipt. Contact Consumer Affairs Victoria if you do not receive a confirmation from the RTBA within two weeks.

Landlords or owners who take a bond must also give you a condition report, which shows the condition of the property before you move in. Complete this thoroughly, note any existing damage, and take photos. Keep a copy of the condition report. You might need it at the end of your tenancy if there is a dispute about who should pay for cleaning, damage or replacement of missing items.

If you live in homestay accommodation – where you live with the home owner – this is a private agreement and is not covered by renting laws. However, Consumer Affairs Victoria can also provide information and advice on your rights.

If you have a renting question or problem, visit consumer.vic.gov.au/internationalstudents or call Consumer Affairs Victoria on 1300 55 81 81 for the cost of a local call. Additional charges may apply from mobile or payphones.

To contact Consumer Affairs Victoria in languages other than English, call 131 450 and say the English name of your language. Then ask the interpreter to call 1300 55 81 81.

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