Rental or private accommodation is a great choice if you are looking for an independent lifestyle. There are some great places to live in Wollongong that are close to the university, shops, beaches and other attractions.
The information below gives you information on the process of applying for private accommodation, and information on what costs you will need to consider when you move into a new home. We strongly suggest that you read the following information if you are considering private rentals.
We also want you to know that we are here to help. Housing Services can help you with:
- Applying for a property,
- What documents you will need to take with you, and
- Any other questions you may have about rental properties and shared housing in the Wollongong and Sydney areas.
Contact Housing Services to discuss your needs.
Wollongong rental map
New to Wollongong and want to find out what you can expect to pay for the average property?
Sydney rental map
Looking to move to Sydney and want to find out what you can expect to pay for the average property?
Tips and tricks for renting
Get in early
If you are arriving at the start of the year, we strongly recommend you start looking for private accommodation in December or January. Most people arrive and look for accommodation less than one week before their classes start. This makes it very difficult to find accommodation. Make sure you give yourself as much time as possible to get your accommodation organised before your classes start so that you are settled and ready to study.
Be organised and ready to apply
You will not be the only applicant for a rental property in Wollongong. There may be many applicants for the one property and this means that you will have to impress the agent or landlord from the start. It is a good idea to treat your application like a job interview. You will need to ensure that you:
- Turn up on time.
- Be presented well, that is, clean and neat.
- Have all of your documents ready so you can put an application in on the spot
- Apply for more than one property at a time - this way you are improving your chances of getting a property quickly!
The rental market may be different to what you are used to, even if you are from Australia it can be a different process as the laws vary from state to state. It is very important to be organised and understand your rights as a consumer. You can get lots of helpful information from Housing Services, including answers to any of your tenancy questions.
Protect yourself and your rights as a tenant
Some tips to help you ensure your property is appropriate for what you are paying:
- Not cramped - you should have room for a bed, desk & chair, and wardrobe,
- Not dirty, damaged or mouldy,
- You will have your own bedroom or, if this is not possible, sharing a room with no more than one other person,
- Ensuring you have a proper bedroom and will not be sleeping in a kitchen, living room, laundry, bathroom, pantry, or garage.
It is also important to be aware of the recent changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 2010 which commenced on 31 January 2011 and the Boarding Houses Act 2012.There are very strict rules regarding renting in New South Wales.
If you are an international student there is a great guide for International Students found on the NSW Fair Trading web site.
Find out what the tenancy laws are in Australia and New South Wales:
- NSW Fair Trading (if you want more information about thwat is required, NSW Fair Trading is the government agency that sets out the rules for renting in New South Wales) - www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au
- Illawarra Tenants Service (for legal advice on tenancy matters) - www.illawarralegalcentre.org.au
- Tenants Union (the Tenants Union of NSW has some great fact sheets that are easy to read and cover all aspects of being a tenant, including starting a lease, bond, locks, repairs, terminating a lease etc.) - www.tenants.org.au
You can also make an appointment with Housing Services if you are unsure of what your options are, if you should have a problem or if you have any questions.
Find your accommodation
UOW is easily accessible from many suburbs in Wollongong. Suburbs that are further away from the CBD and University tend to be cheaper.
If you are looking for accommodation in the Greater Sydney area, there are lots of great options to consider, and many of them affordable on a tight budget.
In both the Illawarra and Greater Sydney regions, you will find better value for money and easy access in the suburbs away from the main CBD districts.
Searching for rental accommodation
The University has a place for private rentals on the UOW Study Stays property listing website. The majority of listings on this site are located within the Illawarra, so if you are looking for accommodation outside of this area you will need to contact Housing Services for more information.
You will need to consider costs that you will be required to pay for before you move into the property. These include:
- Bond – always a maximum of 4 weeks in advance but it can sometimes less than this
- Rent in advance - generally two weeks in advance in addition to the bond
- Electricity - connection fee
- Telephone - connection fee and line installation could be required
- Internet - connection fee
- Gas - connection fee could be required
- Furniture - you may need to purchase furniture if your property is not fully furnished
- Various household items such as cleaning equipment, kitchenware, etc.
A very useful facility that can assist you with setting up your utilities is www.connectnow.com.au. This web site can assist with what you might need to consider when moving and can organise this for you.
If you are moving into a shared house, some of these items may be a little different, such as:
- Bond – always a maximum of 4 weeks but it can sometimes less than this.
- Rent in advance – a maximum of 2 weeks in advance in addition to the bond.
- Electricity – you will not be required to pay a connection fee or bond/security deposit
- Internet – you may be charged a weekly additional cost to help cover this price or you can organise your own internet with the permission of the other household members.
- Gas – you will not be required to pay a connection fee or bond/security deposit.
Again, if you need any help with finding private accommodation, have questions about your agreement or contract, or you have any problems with your private accommodation contact Housing Services.
When you apply for a rental property through a real estate agent or landlord you will need to provide the following information:
Proof of Identification - you need to prove who you are so take as much photo identification as possible such as passports, drivers licences and student cards, enrolment letters and credit cards or bank cards.
Proof of Income - you will be asked to provide financial information to prove you can afford the rent. You will need to bring with you pay slips from your job or if you are an international student a statement from the bank. If your parents are paying the rent a letter from them indicating this is also useful. The information that you provide is protected by Privacy laws in Australia.
Rental or personal references - If you have these documents in English from a previous rental property, agent or landlord they will work to your favour. If you don’t have these, please contact Housing Services.
A part of the process of applying for a rental property will be the requirement to sign a lease if you are successful with your application. Be wary if you are not asked to sign a lease or contract for a private rental. Even if you are entering a shared house you should have a shared house agreement. The lease/contract/agreement includes information about the length of stay at the property, how much rent is to be paid, the bond, how much notice must be given by yourself and the agent or landlord at the end of the lease and how to contact the agent or landlord. You may be required to pay a cash bond, and you will be required to complete a condition report of the premises so that all damage is noted before you move in. Make sure that for any money that is paid you are given a receipt that is dated, signed and has all the correct information on it.
For more information about this please refer to the Department of Fair Trading website or contact Housing Services.
How to be a good neighbour
Introduce yourself - Meet your neighbours and exchange contact information. Get to know them and always be friendly and courteous when speaking to any members of your neighbourhood.
Observe the general activities in your neighbourhood – some neighbourhoods have street events, BBQs or just general getting-to-know-you contact. Join in and enjoy the opportunity this brings to make some new friends.
Observe rubbish and recycling collection days – don’t leave your bins out all week.
Maintain lawn and landscaping around your home if not provided by your landlord. An untidy lawn and garden can upset your neighbours.
Show courtesy when you or your guests park in the neighbourhood. Try to avoid slamming car doors, honking car horns, parking on your lawn (or anyone else’s for that matter) etc.
Keep the peace! Notify your neighbours when hosting a party and give them your phone number – remember many of your neighbours may be elderly or have small children, excess noise can be very intrusive and disruptive.
Clean up immediately after any social function – make sure all rubbish is put into your bins and any mess is cleaned up as soon as possible once the party has come to an end. You may want to consider getting up early in the morning to ensure your yards are clear of any rubbish or mess before the rest of your neighbourhood awaken for the day.
Be aware of shared walls – if living in an apartment or a duplex house, remember noise can carry so attempt to keep noise levels to a minimum.
Practice parking etiquette – park outside your house and in your driveway but never in your neighbours driveways or across them.
Moving out? If you have any items you no longer want, why not recycle them or donate them to charity? There are lots of options that are much more appropriate than leaving unwanted items outside on the footpath.
Shoalhaven campus accommodation
For more information about rental and shared accommodation at the Shoalhaven campus please refer to this website.
Sydney rental accommodation can be more competitive than in Wollongong. If you are seeking accommodation in the Sydney area, websites such as Real Estate and Domain have many listings from local Sydney-based Real Estate agents.
Please visit our Sydney accommodation page for more information.
If you need any assistance in securing accommodation in the Sydney or Wollongong areas, contact Housing Services for further information and assistance.