Finding private accommodation in Sydney can be a daunting task, with students facing a lot of competition. We’ve put together plenty of information to help you prepare you for the search and find the property you want.
Please contact the Communications and Off-Campus Officer for more information.
The information, contacts and links provided by the UTS Housing Service are to assist you in your search for accommodation and provide you with details of the services you may require. The information provided is compiled in good faith, and is intended as a guide only. UTS Housing Service does not investigate the content of any information or link provided nor does it endorse, guarantee, or recommend the accuracy of the information or necessarily subscribe to any such opinions or recommendations. We do not profit in any way or sponsor any of the contacts listed, they are provided solely as a convenience and service to you.
Where to find share accommodation
Sites you may find useful in your search for share accommodation:
- UTS Private Listing Service
- Domain: Domain.com.au (opens an external site)
- Realestate.com.au: Realestate.com.au (opens an external site)
Before you start
Decide on a location
Key points to consider with location include proximity to campus, public transport options and costs are and safety concerns, for example, crime rate or distance to public transport.
Decide on a budget
Keep in mind that most places are advertised excluding any bills. You’ll usually have to add gas, electricity and internet to the rate.
Decide on a living situation that suits your lifestyle
The possibilities in terms of the type of people you could find yourself living with are endless. You should take time to consider things like age preference, background, lifestyle, or whether they’re smoking or non-smoking, as these will have a direct impact on you.
Decide how long you plan to lease the room
Most share advertisements have a minimum time frame they wish to have the space occupied for; there may also be fees or charges should you wish to vacate the property sooner than you originally anticipated.
Meeting a flatmate
When viewing rooms, it’s usual to be introduced to the other people who reside in the house or apartment. We would at this point recommend you choose a number of properties to view to see what situation makes you feel the most comfortable.
It’s a good idea to get the appointments booked in as quickly as possible so that if you are offered a room you are able to respond to the offer as soon as possible. If you leave it too long you could run the risk of losing the offer.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions - remember you have to be comfortable in the property so the more you ask the better.
You might want to ask:
- Is the flat noisy? Is it near a flight path or busy road?
- Is there parking available, and at what cost? Does street parking require a council permit?
- Is the flat safe and secure?
- What happens when there are repairs to be done? Does the leaseholder or the owners take care of repairs, or is there an agent involved? Remember, all general repairs should be at the owner’s expense, unless the repair is due to tenant negligence.
- Is the rent paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly? How is a receipt provided?
- Are there any services provided with the accommodation (Foxtel, Internet, fixed phone line, etc.)? What is the average cost of the service(s)?
- Is there a cleaning schedule? Or do you have a cleaner, if so at what cost?
- Will the leaseholder or owner inspect the room prior to the new occupant moving in? How will this be documented?
- What are the other occupants’ interests? How are they employed? What kind of hours do they keep?
- Is the house quite social or do you generally keep to yourself?
Share accommodation in most circumstances is an informal arrangement between occupants of a property and the leaseholders or landlord; in most circumstances there will not be an agreement with your name on it. For this reason, it’s imperative to be comfortable with, and trusting of, the people you are living with- as well as having a good understanding of the circumstances of the living situation.
There are certain steps you can take to cover yourself:
Change of share tenancy form
Having your name added to the bond gives you no claim on the lease but does give you part ownership of the bond. This is as simple as having the occupants complete the Change of Shared Tenancy Arrangement (PDF 58KB, two pages) form which can be obtained from the Rental Bond Board (opens an external site).
This isn’t mandatory however, and some leaseholders may choose to keep the bond in the same name as the lease.
Share, boarder or lodger agreements
Some share accommodation providers ask that occupants sign a piece of paper variously referred to as a tenancy agreement, a boarder agreement or a lodger agreement. Please be aware that unless it is a Residential Tenancy Agreement, this agreement is not enforceable by law or the Consumer Trader and Tenancy Tribunal.
We have seen many cases of such agreements being entered into and the occupant believing it protects them. It’s only when a dispute arises that the occupant becomes aware that the agreement they have signed only serves to benefit the provider.
If you are offered one of these agreements to sign we recommend getting in touch with the Communications and Off-Campus Officer to discuss.
Ensure you are given a receipt for the deposit of the bond in the leaseholder’s account.
Try to arrange rent payments to be paid direct to the agent (if one is involved) or, alternatively, paid directly into the leaseholders account via internet banking so you have a record of your payments.
Always avoid paying in cash. If cash is absolutely necessary then ensure a receipt is provided every payment.
An ingoing condition report is not required to be completed prior to you moving in; however we recommend you document the condition of the room. Taking the time to do this can prevent any issues from occurring when you move out.
If there are any issues and there is nothing documenting they were there prior to you moving in, it could result in the loss of a portion- or even the entire- bond. Make sure to sign and date any log you create and get the leaseholder to counter-sign to avoid any discrepancy upon moving out.
Make sure to view all utility bills to ensure you are paying the correct amount.
You should try to be aware of your surroundings and your flatmates in things like cleaning up after yourself and turning off appliances and lights after use. General cleanliness and awareness is vital to ensure the smooth running of a household and avoid unnecessary confrontations.
Changes to the Residential Tenancy Act
Please see the NSW Fair Trading (opens an external site) for the latest updates on the Residential Tenancy Act.