Thursday, October 23, 2008

Accomodation problem

Going to a foreign country as a student always has its tense moments....coming to Australia is no exception !

off late, students have been finding it extremely hard to find accomodation. I am sure that most of you will be staying with a relative or a family friend or a friend's relative or relative's friend when you first arrive. This is how it has been working ! staying with people you know is so much more better than staying in some hotel or lodge. especially if the people you are staying with speak your native language and you get similar food that you had at home.

So....its been a week, and you are over the jetlag feel...have visited your university a few times and are starting to get into the groove...but you need a place to live isint it? temporary accomodation cannot be permanent accomodation. the people you where with when you first arrived can be kind, caring etc...but you simply cannot stick on with them through out your degree/course/program. you need freedom and your own space. you need your own apartment, and its time to go get it !

there are more than one ways to get an apartment inspite of the toughest market scenarios and inspite of escalating rental prices.
1) contacts:
people are your best bet. I am sure you would have got a list of people whom you might establish contacts with once you are in australia. could be your neighbours brother, dad's colleague's friend, aunt's brother-in-law's elder sister......ANYONE !
when you establish contacts with people, they are certainly going to be helpful. they might have been here for a few years and know the place and people better than you do. so dont hesitate to ask for help in finding accomodation. In fact, most rental properties are never advertised. they only spread through word of mouth and so the chances that some one you know, knows about a vacant unit or studio is highly possible. even if you dont have a long list of contacts, DONT PANIC. use the university as your starting point and establish contacts. you will find many like minded people who are on the look out for shared accomodation. if you dont find any within the first couple of weeks, you will need to go in for formally applying for rental property through agencies (but still keep looking through other channels).

2)Applying through agencies:
this is how it works....

a)make a list of possible suburbs that you might want to live in...which could be closer to uni.
b)also make a list of all possible rental agencies that are there.
c)visit them all
d)take brochures and flyers with latest rental property availability list.
e)grab a few application forms
f)you will need to fix an appointment with the agent or walk in at some given time to Inspect (see the property) first hand.
g)lodge an application with completed forms, passport copy, student offer letter, letter from employer if you have a job already, or letter from your contacts stating that you have good character, your bank statement with a balance of atleast a few thousand $.....
h) the main issues with the above procedure is that most agencies ask you if you have a local rental history. i.e. they ask you how you where in your old house...whether you where given back the full deposit and paid rent on time etc. they simply fail to understand that people coming in new as a foreign student will have no rental history. only if you have rental history are you more favourably considered than a person who has no such track record. so what to do now?????

all you can do is to be truthful. tell the agency that you are a new student and have had no character problems..ever....that you dont smoke, drink or wont play loud music in the middle of the night ...waking up the entire street (say all this only if it is the truth !) sure to enclose your offer letter and scholarship letter if any along with your rental application to add merit to it. convey to the agency that you are in australia to study and that you will do just that and not be involved in anything inappropriate.

Apply to a few rental units by yourself and try your luck. if you get it, then can share it with another person you choose or if its only a studio, you can take it up all for yourself...with friends visiting frequently. however, if you dont find any after a reasonable amount of search then its better you ask people you know to get you a house based on their credentials. im not explaining this point in detail. figure it out yourself !

once you are successful in getting a property, you will need to sign a bond, of 6 months to one year. bond is normally 4 weeks of rent paid in advance. it is generally not advisable to break the bond since it might involve some financial losses. two things that you will certainly need to know is that you must give 2 weeks notice to your landlord through your agent if you intend to vacate. the land lord through the agent must give you 8 weeks notice before they ask you to vacate. this is a law and you must know your rights. if you have caused any damage to the property you where in torn carpets, or stained walls or broken glass etc, some portion of the bond money will not be returned to you. instead it will go towards restoring the house back to its earlier condition.

Applying for a house and moving in is not a simple task in australia (atleast for the first time visitor). it involves some amount of paper work and effort. there is no reason to feel overwhelmed by it. just keep looking and you will get your apartment ! good luck with that !

1 Comment:

Lovely said...

I am Aussie andI cannot get a flat for myself and one child and I have an income!! They say I want a place too small or if I want something bigger, I want a place too expensive. I have local referees, rental history and contacts but I really have no clue how a student gets a place unless they just share with other people who already have a flat!!