Finding Somewhere to Live

Knowledge is power when trying to secure suitable accommodation. Follow this practical advice to make the experience easier and more successful for you.

Frequently Asked Questions

UniSA students have priority access to a selection of Scape apartments, located on North Terrace between City West and City East campuses.

Hear about young peoples' experiences in this moving out video. It will help you plan your budget and avoid nasty surprises.

Here is a guide to the cost of living for an average student

Use this handy MoneySmart budget planner to help you calculate your costs. Download the easy-to-use TrackMySPEND app.

Here are some good resources to use when hunting for different types of accommodation. But first of all, save time and effort by clarifying the type of housing best suited to you.

Student accommodation

Simply go to our Long-term accommodation page. You will find information about the various providers, as well as tools, such as a map of the accommodation in relation to your campus. 

Private rental housing

Regularly check

  • the Rental Database for new advertisements
  • real estate agency search engines
  • noticeboards on campus, especially for share accommodation
  • the Advertiser newspaper, especially on Wednesday and Saturday. You may find these commonly used abbreviations useful

Read what others say about the suburbs of Adelaide.

Beware of false rental advertisements on the internet.

Interested in student accommodation (Residential Colleges, Student Hostels, Student Apartments or Homestay)? Ensure that you are dealing with the genuine property managers. Use contact details on the UniSA Accommodation Services website.

Looking for private rental housing?

  • Be very suspicious of offers that seem too good to be true
  • Insist on personally inspecting the interior of the property. You should only arrange this type of accommodation when you are in Adelaide
  • Do not pay any money until you have inspected the property, met the landlord and are satisfied that the offer is genuine. If paying in cash, insist on a receipt at the time of payment
  • Do not send money eg. via money transfer, which is untraceable
  • Use recommended lease agreements and forms in English
  • If unsure, contact us for advice

Please report scammers to ACCC Scamwatch.

If you want to rent a whole property, such as a house or unit, you will probably be dealing with real estate agents. So, how do you increase your chances of success in a competitive rental market?

Listen to great tips from this real estate agent.

Here are more tips from another agent.

Contact real estate agents in the area where you want to live. Follow up with them regularly. Let them know you are very interested.

Remember to have these important documents ready when attending inspections. 

  • Agents will ask you to complete an application form
  • They might ask to see proof that you are a student
  • They will ask to see evidence of your identity and ability to pay the rent
  • Agents will also ask for contact details of people who can provide rental or personal references for you (not from relatives). If you are an international student, new to Australia, you can obtain a supporting letter from the Student Engagement Unit on your campus. However, they cannot provide you with a personal reference.

It is advisable to make a good first impression on the agent. Finally, here are 12 top tips on competing in the private rental market. Have you been blacklisted due to previous rental problems? Check TICA.

Note: You do not pay commission as a renter. The real estate agent is paid by the landlord.

Many rental advertisements state "No pets". But responsible pet owners can be very good tenants.

So, if you have a pet, take a look at this helpful advice about how to find and apply for a pet-friendly rental.

Here's an example of a pet application/resume and a pet agreement.

When looking for a suitable rental property, ensure that you inspect the premises carefully.

Take a friend along for a second opinion and support.

Download a copy of the Rental Property Checklist to remind you of what to look out for and ask about. Check the locks on doors and windows, whether there are smoke detectors, the size and type of hot water system, enough working powerpoints and light fittings, etc. 

Check for signs of pests or vermin, and anything needing repair. Report the problem to the landlord/agent. If you decide to rent the property, ensure that your lease includes landlord agreement for the repairs to be completed by a specific date.

Consider visiting the area at night, with a friend, to check on street lighting and the general 'feel' of the area.

The bond is refundable at the end of your lease, if you are up to date with your rent payments and have not caused any damage to the rental property.

Normally, the bond may be no more than the cost of four weeks' rent. If the weekly rental is more than $250, then the bond may be up to six weeks' rent. This must be lodged with the Tenancies Branch.

In a Rooming House agreement the maximum permissible bond is the cost of two weeks' rent. Rooming House bonds must be lodged with the Tenancies Branch.

Obtain a receipt immediately, if paying in cash. You can contact the Tenancies Branch to check whether your bond has been lodged.

A lease or tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract, so don't rush into it.

Do not agree to a lease unless you are sure that you understand all the details. If you have any doubts at all, don't feel pressured to sign it or even agree to it verbally. Get independent advice from UniSA Accommodation Services or the Tenancies Branch.

A fixed term lease has a start and end date, and cannot be changed unless both you and the landlord agree to the changes. Here are some important points about different types of leases.

Although a fixed term lease can be assigned to another person who is willing to take over the property, we recommend that you start a new lease instead. With a new lease, you avoid complications regarding liability for damages caused by previous tenants.

Always use written agreements in English. You can download standard Residential Tenancy or Rooming House agreement forms.

If a landlord agrees to improve something in the rental property (eg. paint the walls, install an air-conditioner, replace window locks, etc.) ensure that this is specified in the lease, including the completion date.

Some landlords include water usage in the rent, some don't. Ensure that the details of the arrangement are absolutely clear in the lease. For more specific advice, please refer to the Tenancies Branch fact sheet on water charges.

Obtain and keep a copy of your agreement. 

If you are entering a boarder/lodger agreement (owner lives in the same property as you), the tenancies laws may not apply to you. Ensure that you have a written record of your arrangement with the home-owner. This can help prevent misunderstandings and disputes. Download an example of a boarder/lodger occupancy agreement.

Unsure how to choose suitable housemates? Don't know your rights? Here are some tips.

Do you and your future housemates share compatible lifestyles?

  • Can you rely on them to pay their share of the bills?
  • Are you worried about facing their dirty dishes when cooking dinner?
  • Do you want to avoid "party houses"?

Follow these suggestions on how to check out potential housemates, and avoid lots of headaches.

Do you have strict cultural or dietary requirements? Make sure that you discuss these with your potential housemates. If you are a vegetarian, it will be easier to share a kitchen with housemates who share or at least understand your practices. Consider negotiating suitable arrangements with your housemates, such as separate cooking utensils and food storage. The UniSA Rental Database has a category for dietary requirements.

Are you aware of basic share-house legalities? Carefully consider your agreement options

  • co-tenancy means that all the tenants' names are on the same residential tenancy agreement. In this case, you all share responsibility for the entire lease. One of the disadvantages of a co-tenancy is that the Tenancies Branch cannot help with housemate disputes, such as a housemate not paying their share of the rent
  • sub-letting means that each tenant is responsible for their own individual lease agreement with the landlord (or with the head-tenant, if you are sub-letting). This means that you cannot be held responsible for the actions of a housemate

To protect your bond, it is essential that you record the condition of the property immediately after you move in.

Do an entry inspection to record the conditions of the property with your landlord or real estate agent. If possible, do this during the daytime. This will allow you to also view the external features of the property and record the conditions on the inspection sheet.

The landlord is legally obliged to provide the property in a clean and reasonable state. Be sure to record anything that needs to be cleaned or repaired on the inspection sheet. It is wise to add these points to the lease with a completion date, signed by the landlord or agent.

Take photographs of all existing damages and faults. These will be useful if you have a dispute with the landlord regarding damages to the property.

Keep copies of the inspection sheet and photographs.

We recommend arranging homestay through a professional homestay service provider.

Contact the Australian Homestay Network. Remember to apply six weeks before your arrival in Adelaide.

Say G'Day to Homestay is a useful introduction to homestay in Australia.

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