International students

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Before you arrive in Victoria

It is best to book temporary accommodation before you arrive, and look for longer-term accommodation after you arrive.

Only sign a lease or contract after you have viewed the property and are satisfied with it. You may have to pay extra money to end the lease or contract if you change your mind.

Check the property is clean and safe. Ask the landlord or owner to fix any problems before you pay money or sign an agreement.

Melbourne Airport Student Welcome Desk

Melbourne Airport has a Student Welcome Desk with helpful information for international students, including a free welcome pack and an international student guide.

The Welcome Desk is open every day from 7am to midnight at the Travellers’ Information Service, International Arrivals Hall, Ground Floor, Terminal 2.

For more information, visit the Student Welcome Desk page on the City of Melbourne website.

Renting in Victoria

Video transcript: International students - Renting in Victoria (Word, 86KB)

You have the same renting rights as local residents have under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997.

You have the right to ask your landlord or accommodation owner to meet the obligations agreed in your rental contract. This will not affect your visa.

It is important to understand the different types of rental accommodation in Victoria, as there are different rules for each under Victorian law.

A summary of your renting rights in Victoria is also available in the following languages:

አማርኛ (Amharic), عربي (Arabic), jrefrm (Burmese), 中文 (Chinese - Traditional), Lai Holh (Chin Haka)Hrvatski (Croatian), دری (Dari), Thuoŋjaŋ (Dinka), فارسی (Farsi), Ελληνικά (Greek), हिंदी (Hindi)Italiano (Italian), unD (Karen), 한국어 (Korean), Македонски (Macedonian), Malti (Maltese), Thok Nath (Nuer), Русский (Russian), Soomaali (Somali), Español (Spanish), Kiswahili (Swahili), Türkçe (Turkish),Việt ngữ (Vietnamese).

Rooming houses

A rooming house is a house or apartment where one or more rooms are rented to four or more people. Rooming house residents usually have individual agreements with the owner, rather than sharing a rental contract.

You should check that a rooming house is registered before you sign an agreement or move in. View the Public register of rooming houses.

Registered rooming houses must meet minimum standards for privacy, security and safety. For more information, view:

When you agree to move in to a rooming house, the owner must give you:

Private rental

A private rental means that you have private use of a whole apartment or house. You will sign a tenancy agreement (also called a lease), which is a contract between you and your landlord or estate agent. The lease states the rent, the bond, the length and type of tenancy, and other conditions and rules. View our Signing the lease page.

A share house is when you share a private rental with friends or housemates. All tenants are listed on the lease and pay their own share of rent and bond.

Sub-letting occurs when a tenant rents out a room in the property to another person who is not on the lease. If someone offers to rent you a room in a sub-letting arrangement, you should ask them to show that they have written permission from their landlord, before you pay them any money.

For more information on share houses and sub-letting, view our Types of rental agreements page.

Boarding or homestay

Boarding or homestay is when you rent a room in a home, and live with the home owners. This is a private agreement between you and the home owner, which does not fall under the Residential Tenancies Act 1997. For information on your rights in a private agreement, view our Contracts page.

Deposits

A landlord, estate agent or owner may ask you for a ‘holding deposit’ before you sign a lease, and refund it after both you and they have signed the lease. If there is no tenancy agreement within 14 days, the deposit must be refunded by the next business day.

A landlord or agent cannot charge fees for other things, such as administration. If you are unsure whether a fee is legitimate, contact us.

Bonds

If your landlord, estate agent or owner asks you to pay a bond, they must:

  • give you a completed bond lodgement form for you to sign
  • lodge the bond with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA). You will receive a confirmation letter from the RTBA within two weeks of bond lodgement
  • prepare a condition report, which notes the general condition of the property. See Condition report below.

If you cause damage, fail to keep the property clean, or owe rent at the end of your tenancy, your landlord can claim some or all of the bond.

View our Lodging the bond page.

Condition report

If you pay a bond, your landlord, estate agent or owner must prepare a condition report. This document records the general condition of the property or room, including fittings and fixtures (for example, carpets, curtains and heaters).

Your landlord or estate agent must give you two signed copies of this report before you move in.

Inspect the property and fill in the report, noting any existing damage such as cracks, marks on the walls, or broken handles. Also note on the condition report if you disagree with what the landlord or agent has written.

Return one signed copy of the condition report to the landlord or agent within three days of moving in.

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.

View our Condition report page.

While you are renting

Pay your rent on time. You are entitled to receive a receipt for each rent payment. View our Rent responsibilities and receipts page.

Tell your landlord or estate agent about any repairs that need to be done. See important information about repairs in our Repairs, maintenance and changes to the property section.

Moving out

If your tenancy agreement (lease) has a fixed term and you plan to move out on this date, you must still give written notice to your estate agent or landlord.

Check the minimum notice periods to end your lease, and download the forms for giving notice from our:

Important things to remember

  • Do not sign anything unless you understand what it means.
  • Never sign a blank form, even if it looks official.
  • Keep a copy of anything you sign.
  • Ask for a receipt every time you have to pay for something, and store the receipt safely.
  • Do not pay a deposit or bond if you have not visited the property yourself.
  • Ensure you receive bond lodgment confirmation from the RTBA.
  • Seek free advice from Consumer Affairs Victoria if you have a renting problem or question.
  • Lodging a complaint will not affect your student visa.

Get help with renting questions

For more information on your renting rights:

Interpreter service

Interpreter service logo

Telephone: 131 450

For advice and information 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.

Your consumer rights in Victoria

Knowing your consumer rights will help you avoid problems when you buy products or services. View our information on:

  • Shopping - your rights when buying in a store, online, at your door, or by phone
  • MyShopRights app - our free mobile app with answers to common shopping questions
  • Mobile phone contracts - read our tips before you sign a contract
  • Motor cars - buying a new or used car
  • Scams - how to identify and avoid common scams.

Organisations that help international students

The Study Melbourne Student Centre is a free and confidential support and welfare service for international students studying in Victoria. Call its 24-hour phone line on 1800 056 449 (free call from landline phones) or visit the Study Melbourne Student Centre website.

For information on other support services for international students, visit the Help and advice page on the Study Melbourne website

Problems with your education course

If you cannot resolve a problem or complaint with your education provider, contact:

Where to next:

Last updated: 07/02/2017

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