Starting a new chapter of your life in Australia can be an exciting experience. With so many arrangements to make, finding a rental property may top your list of priorities.

To get things moving, here’s what you need to know.

Where do I start?

Get a head start on finding your dream home in Australia by researching potential locations before your arrival. Check out up-to-date suburb profiles and property listings on major Australian rental property websites like Rent.com.au.

Start your new life in Australia off on the right foot! Explore the Australian government’s My School website for information on schools in each suburb, and take advantage of the top-ranking universities and TAFE systems in every state. Don’t forget to consider critical factors like transportation, education, amenities, and the area’s reputation.

Get to know the terminology:

To find a place in Australia, you’ll have an easier time once you learn the local lingo. In Australia, homes are described as “apartments” or “flats”, while “house” refers to larger homes with outdoor space. “Studio flats” or “studios” are used for one-room apartments, and “units” are used for large, separated apartments in blocks. Get to know the renting terms with our guide here!

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What will it cost?

The answer to this question ultimately hinges on your preferred location. As with many countries, living in major Australian cities can be costly, but it provides an excellent lifestyle and a wide range of choices.

To get a sense of what you can afford in terms of rent, this article is an excellent guide to working out what’s within your budget.

How much does rent cost in Australia?

In June 2023, the average rent for an apartment in Australia was AUD 538 (USD 371) per week and for houses, AUD 600 (USD 414) per week. The following is a look at Australia’s weekly rent prices across its main cities. For the latest data, check out our rental market snapshots here.

APARTMENTS:

  • Sydney: AUD 650 (USD 448) per week
  • Melbourne: AUD 500 (USD 345) per week
  • Brisbane: AUD 550 (USD 379) per week
  • Perth: AUD 500 (USD 345) per week
  • Adelaide: AUD 430 (USD 296) per week

HOUSES:

  • Sydney: AUD 800 (USD 552) per week
  • Melbourne: AUD 520 (USD 358) per week
  • Brisbane: AUD 620 (USD 427) per week
  • Perth: AUD 590 (USD 407) per week
  • Adelaide: AUD 540 (USD 372) per week

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How do leases work in Australia?

Australian landlords typically ask for a one-year lease, but it’s not unusual to come across six-month leases. In the meantime, if you’re searching for a rental property, short-term furnished accommodation options can often be found online or through real estate agents. Students can also find suitable rental properties on campus or in shared accommodation.

If you’ve secured a property but are waiting for your furniture to arrive from your home country, it’s worth considering renting furniture until yours arrives. Keep in mind that most rental properties in Australia come unfurnished. Here are 8 free or cheap ways to furnish your apartment on a tight budget.

What documents will I need?

To increase your chances of securing a rental property in Australia, bring copies of essential documents such as photo ID, proof of employment and income, bank statements, and letters of reference to property viewings. You can complete an application on the spot or use apps to save your details and documentation, ready to send to the agent as soon as you leave. You’ll need the following:

  • A photo ID such as a driver’s licence or passport
  • Proof of employment and income
  • A letter from your bank confirming your Australian bank account
  • A bank statement reflecting your balance
  • A letter of reference from a previous landlord
  • One or two character references

Agents want to know your rental history, but moving to Australia means you don’t have one – yet. Overcome this obstacle by explaining your history in the cover letter attached to your application. Be formal, but also share why you’re excited to move to Australia and live in the property. Some agents prefer online applications, while others want you to email – ensure you know which.

Don’t miss out on your dream home – be prepared and stand out from the competition!

View the property

In today’s digital age, you can often virtually view properties in Australia through the agent’s pre-recorded videos or video conferencing tools. It’s a fantastic way to create a shortlist before arriving, but beware: only an in-person inspection can guarantee the property meets your expectations and has no hidden flaws.

You can impress the agent with your enthusiasm and attention to detail, setting yourself apart from other potential tenants. Check out this article for more tips on putting your best foot forward with the property manager.

Renting a property can be an excellent way to explore and assess a specific suburb or area. However, competition for high-quality rental properties, particularly in cities, can be fierce. It’s advisable to schedule rental viewings during the week instead of the weekend, as the latter is always more popular.

Tip: Rental viewings in Australia are usually short, with only 10 to 15-minute blocks assigned for each viewing. Ensure you arrive on time and make the most of your viewing.

Some of the things you’ll want to double-check during the inspection include the following:

  • Are bills included in the rent?
  • What furniture comes with the property?
  • Does the property have air conditioning for those scorching Aussie summers?
  • Can you personalise the space with your paintings or shelves?
  • Who do you call in case of emergencies?
  • Are there any restrictions, such as a no pets policy?

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Be polite, but follow up.

Be proactive and contact the agent within 24 hours of submitting your application. Instead of emailing, call them to ensure they don’t miss your message. Don’t pester them, but follow up to confirm they have all the necessary documents and to inquire about the status of your application.

If you didn’t get the place, ask for feedback on improving your application for the future. While you have their attention, ask about other similar listings and see if your application can be used for those.

It’s a win-win situation that saves time for everyone involved and increases your chances of securing your first place in Australia.

Paying your rental bond and rent in advance

Ready to rent in Australia? Congrats! Before signing your tenancy agreement, know how much rent and bond you must pay.

In Victoria, for example, you can pay up to one month’s rent in advance or 14 days’ rent if paid weekly. Your bond can’t be more than one month’s rent unless the weekly rent is $900 per week or more.

In most places, your bond must be lodged with a state-run authority. If there’s a dispute about deductions, the authority can help. As rules vary by state, research your situation before signing the agreement.

What will I be responsible for?

Let’s talk about your responsibilities as a tenant. You’ll be in charge of paying the utility bills unless it’s stated otherwise in the lease. Maintenance costs may be included in the rent if you opt for a place with a pool or garden, but this isn’t guaranteed.

Throughout your stay, you’ll need to maintain the home. However, the landlord is responsible for ensuring essential services like water and sewerage are in good working order. If there are necessary repairs, let your landlord know, and if they don’t act promptly, you can arrange repairs yourself and send them the bill.

Breaking the lease early is something you should avoid if possible. If you do, you’ll still be responsible for paying rent until the end of the lease period. But, if you need to break the agreement, you may be able to find someone else to take over and cover those costs.

Where can I get extra help?

If you have questions about renting in Australia, Rent.com.au has a private Facebook group where you can ask relevant tenancy questions from other renters. If you need help using Rent.com.au to find, enquire or apply for a property, contact our team at 1300 736 810 or send us an email.

Rent.com.au

Rent.com.au is Australia's largest company dedicated to renters and is owned and operated by ASX-listed Rent.com.au Limited (RNT:ASX). For over 15 years, Rent.com.au has exclusively focused on making renters' lives easier by making it easier to find a property, secure it, move in and pay rent.

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