Affordable accommodation in Sydney is difficult to find. For most students their biggest budget item is rent.
Questions to consider when choosing accommodation include how much you can afford to spend on rent, what facilities you require, and how much control you’d like to have over your accommodation.
The University produces an excellent Accommodation Guide that explains the different types of accommodation both on and off campus: https://sydney.edu.au/campus-life/accommodation.html
Tips for finding the right accommodation
- Check the University Accommodation Service’s accommodation database: https://sydney.studystays.com.au
- Some useful Facebook groups include Inner West Housemates (Newtown, Enmore, Marrickville etc); Inner East Housemates (& Surry Hills, Darlo, Redfern etc); and (for LGBTI+ friendly accommodation) Queer Housing Sydney.
- The Tenants’ Union of NSW’s rent-tracker lists average rents for all Sydney local government areas: https://www.tenants.org.au/tu/rent-tracker
- It’s a good idea to rent somewhere that has access to public transport. Buses are less reliable than trains, so it’s good to live near a train station.
- Express trains make it easier to live further from campus. For example, Parramatta is about 25kms from Camperdown campus, but less than 25 minutes to Redfern Station by express train.
- If you have a car, you will need to consider parking options. Some properties do not include off-street parking, or have limited parking spots. Also parking on or near main campus is limited.
- If you are a domestic student on a low income, and you are finding it difficult to pay bond for a private rental, you may be able to apply for a bond loan from the NSW Government Family and Community Service: https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/myhousing/rentstart-online-help
Tips for protecting your rights
- Don’t pay or sign anything until you’ve inspected the property.
- Keep copies of all documentation, which should include a written agreement, a condition report, and receipts for any payments you make, such as bond or security deposit and rent.
- Get the legal full name and residential address of the person from whom you are renting (the property owner, their rental agent, or the leaseholder).
- When issues arise, communicate with the your landlord (or head tenant) in writing (email or letter).
- Keep copies of all correspondence with the person you are renting from.
- By law, your bond must be deposited with Fair Trading (not in the landlord’s or agent’s bank account). If you do not receive a deposit notice, contact Fair Trading to find out whether your bond was deposited. If the landlord/agent does not deposit the bond within the required period, they can be fined up to $2,200.
Are you homeless, or facing homelessness?
In most situations, you cannot be lawfully evicted without an order from the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal. This means your landlord or head tenant cannot change locks or throw out your goods until you have had an opportunity to seek professional advice.
Contact your local Tenants’ Advice and Advocacy Service for free advice and assistance: tenants.org.au/all/taas
If you have nowhere to stay you can contact Link2Home for referrals to accommodation providers and other support services. This is a free 24-hour service provided by the NSW Government: 1800 152 152
Sydney University students who require emergency accommodation may be able to stay at STUCCO, a student managed housing cooperative located in Newtown. Contact SUPRA for a referral.
The University also offers emergency accommodation for a limited period of 2 weeks. Contact SUPRA for a referral and information.
Sydney University Accommodation Service Database: https://sydney.studystays.com.au/
Sydney University Accommodation webpage (includes colleges and other university-owned accommodation): https://sydney.edu.au/campus-life/accommodation.html
Tenants’ NSW (Tenants’ Union of NSW): https://www.tenants.org.au/
Tenants Advice and Advocacy Services (TAAS): https://www.tenants.org.au/all/taas
Transport NSW Trip Planner page (public transport information): https://transportnsw.info/
Redfern Legal Centre’s Share Housing Survival Guide: https://sharehousing.org/
NSW Fair Trading: https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/
NSW Family and Community Services Rentstart Program: https://www.facs.nsw.gov.au/myhousing/rentstart-online-help