Renting in a new country has its challenges. Some 21.6% of Australians are currently enrolled to study at a tertiary or technical institution (ABS, 2016), and a large number of these students continually search for off-campus rental accommodation. These numbers can add to the pressure of securing a place at university and housing. 

International students can face some difficulties in this process, and there are undeniable links between rental accommodation problems and the development of stress for international students.

High rents:
Rental accommodation costs close to university can be especially prohibitive to international student newcomers who arrive in Australia without local contacts.  Housing shortages and significant increases in rental prices can have an impact on international students’ accommodation experiences. This is especially apparent in larger inner city campuses in Sydney and Melbourne, although smaller cities, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and Hobart are also affected to some extent.

Easy ways to find rental accommodation close to your university campus

Costs of transportation affected by accommodation:
Another critical issue faced by international students is that their choice of rental housing is affected by transport costs. Many students prefer to live close to university due to a lack of public transport support. But while rent is usually cheaper in Australia’s outer suburbs, the savings can be offset by exorbitant financial outlays for public transport.

Walk Score – the best way to find a walkable rental on

Being misled or lied to:
When searching for properties, it’s important that students are aware of properties that sound too good to be true and be mindful that if a rental property is significantly cheaper than other similar properties in the same area, it’s a red flag.

One of the most troubling issues that international students face is being unaware of their housing rights and obligations. Due to lack of knowledge of local laws, international students remain unaware of their housing rights and responsibilities in Australia and can, if not careful, find themselves in unsatisfactory accommodation, feeling lonely and alienated. Each Australian state and territory has a tenancy authority which provides information to consumers on renting and offers handy tips for newly arrived students looking for rental accommodation. Consumer Affairs Victoria, for example, is Victoria’s state authority.

Looking for tenancy support in your state/territory?

We occasionally hear stories of international students who have paid an upfront fee or bond amount for a rental property they haven’t seen, but soon find out the property address never existed from the beginning.

Students can also run into problems trusting that photos included on rental advertisements are an actual example of the property, but without viewing in advance will come away disappointed or shocked to find the opposite.  Viewing a property before applying and renting it is the best way for international students to know that the property is in a clean and habitable condition before they take possession.

You might also like:
– The international student’s guide to missing home
– 9 ways to survive moving into student accommodation
– Students affected by rent stress, struggling to cope with study
– Students: How to avoid common rental scams is Australia's largest company dedicated to renters and is owned and operated by ASX-listed Limited (RNT:ASX). For over 15 years, has exclusively focused on making renters' lives easier by making it easier to find a property, secure it, move in and pay rent.