Finding the right rental property can sometimes take some time, and perseverance is needed to secure accommodation. Be prepared to commit time and effort to secure a rental property.
We strongly urge students and visitors to arrive on your own in the first instance and not to bring your families until you have confirmed accommodation. Have your finances arranged and be able to provide proof of income. Rental references that can be verified locally may also be of assistance. We can provide confirmation of your position at the University but cannot give a past rental reference unless you have lived in an ANU residence.
Beware of scams
When searching for rental properties you should be wary of properties that sound too good to be true. Usually when a property is significantly cheaper than other similar properties in the same area. You should always view a property in person or have someone you trust to do so for you. Under the Residential Tenancies Act it is against the law to take a deposit from someone to hold a property, money should only be handed over when you are signing a lease and receiving keys for the property.
If you are responding to a shared accommodation advert you should meet the housemate(s) personally before paying any money and agreeing to anything. If you are not sure contact Accommodation Services to discuss any issues.
Report all scams to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, SCAMwatch
Where to search
- Housing online
Don't expect to find something on the first day you start looking, give yourself enough time and make sure you have somewhere to stay in the meantime. Depending on the time of year you arrive, it can take weeks or even months to secure accommodation. The beginning of the year is the most difficult time.
Landlords rarely advertise more than one month prior to the occupancy date. How long the search will take will depend on your budget and your personal needs. Usually it takes between 3-6 weeks to find something suitable. You need to be proactive and take the initiative to go out and search for the property you want. If you just wait for something to come to you, you will be disappointed and this can be very stressful.
Be persistent and make sure you have all the paperwork you need to put in an application for a property you are interested in. You may have to view a lot of properties and lodge many applications before you are successful. Don't be discouraged if you don't get the first property you like.
Things to consider
It is important to plan your budget.
- Setting up costs
- Bond (equivalent to four weeks rent).
- Rent in advance (usually four weeks).
- Connection fees (electricity, gas, phone).
- Moving costsInsurance (contents and personal belongings).
- Furniture, linen and utensils.
- Ongoing costs
- University fees
- Utilities - electricity, gas, phone
- Text books
All of these expenses will determine where you begin looking for your new home and what your budget limit is. Spending more than 30 per cent of your income on rent is considered unaffordable. All of these things are on top of any other financial commitments you might have.
Rentals range from around $A300-$A400 per week and upwards for an unfurnished apartment or unfurnished small house in Canberra. Rentals in Queanbeyan (a town on the border of Canberra) are slightly lower - rent for a two bedroom apartment will be around $250 per week and upwards. Furnished accommodation will be about $50 per week more than unfurnished.
Share v solo living
Share accommodation is a great starting point for students new to Canberra.
The benefits of share accommodation include security, sharing expenses and domestic responsibilities as well as making new friends. Some other factors you need to consider are the lack of privacy, personality clashes and social distractions that may affect your study.
Where there are more than two unrelated people sharing a house or flat it is classified as a group. If there are any changes to the occupants in the house of apartment you need to advise the landlord. Agreements created without a landlord's consent have no legal status and this can leave you without legal protection.
Where to live
ANU is situated in Acton which is part of the inner North of Canberra. Suburbs that are nearby include:
Accommodation in the inner suburbs is often more expensive than the outer suburbs. Public Transport in Canberra is very accessible in all areas and also very reliable, so it is not a necessity to live close to ANU. Suburbs around Belconnen might be cheaper, but you'll need to factor in a 30 minute bus ride.
- Walking 0-5km from campus: Turner, O'Connor, Braddon, Ainslie, Reid and Campbell). Note rents tend to be higher in some of these inner city suburbs.
- Cycling 0-20km: Any inner north, inner south, inner Belconnen or central Canberra suburb is within an easy ride half hour ride. The transport & parking page provides information about cycling to uni.
- Public transport: ANU is directly served by the 3 and 7 (enters campus), while the 35, 40, 41, 42, and intertown services (300 series) run alongside campus, on Marcus Clarke Street, then down Barry Drive. The 116, 117, 243 and 244 also run along Barry Drive. The Civic Bus interchange is around five minutes brisk walk from the Civic (east) end of campus and services depart there for much of Canberra. Northbourne Avenue is to the north east of Campus and many services travel through to Dickson, Belconnen, through Civic and to the south. Check the Action Buses website for timetable information
Warning: beware of scams
When searching for rental properties you need to be wary of properties that sound too good to be true. Usually when a property is significantly cheaper than other similar properties in the same area.
Found a place
- Contact the Real Estate Agent or landlord and ask when you can view the property.
- Be prepared with any questions you have about the property such as:
- Is it close to a bus station and shopping centre?
- Does it include white goods?
- How long is the term of the agreement?
- Will the landlord consider groups?
- What type of heating does the property have?
- Is there car accommodation?
- What is the total I would need to pay up front to secure the property?
Make a good impression! Be well groomed, well presented and on time.
Fill in an application form, if necessary. Don't be afraid to attach any supporting documents that you feel may help.
Be persistent! If you really want the property keep in touch with the agent to get updated progress reports on the status of your application. Keep trying, and do not be discouraged if you do not get something straight away.
Signing an agreement
- A tenancy agreement is a legally binding document. Make sure that you read the agreement carefully and understand all of its terms and conditions. Contact us if you are unsure about something in the agreement. It is important to view a property before you sign an agreement; in fact ACT agents will insist on this.
- You will have to pay a bond. This is a refundable deposit on your room or property. It can be up to the equivalent of four weeks' rent, but no more. Bond must be lodged with the ACT Office of Rental Bonds, where it is held until you vacate the property. If there are any problems at the final inspection the bond will be held until these problems are rectified.
- The inventory and condition report is a report which outlines the condition of the property, and any furnishings and equipment attached to the premises. The agent will give you up to three copies of the report, check these very carefully and note any discrepancies on all three copies. The report must be returned within seven days of moving in. You must ensure you get a copy signed by all parties back for your records.
- The agent or landlord can carry out an initial inspection of the property within the first four weeks and then twice within a 12 month period to check the condition of the property. The landlord must give you seven days notice in writing before an inspection is carried out.
- An agreement is a legally binding contract. If agreements are broken in other circumstances then you may be required to pay costs related to the reletting of the property.
Furnishing your home
- You may need to buy furniture for your new property. You can save money by buying second hand furniture; and there are many second hand furniture shops in Canberra.
- The ANU website has classified ads on Billboard where students and staff often sell second hand gear.
- It is also worth looking at classified ads in newspapers such as the Canberra Times and the Trading Post. You'll find more classified ads for Canberra on Allclassifieds.
- Remember to consider how you will get your furniture home. Second hand shops normally deliver for a small fee, but check with them first.
- You can save money on household items by going to markets, fetes, and garage sales.
- 'Trash and Treasure' markets are held every Sunday morning in the Jamison Shopping Centre car park in Macquarie, and in the Woden Plaza car park.
- Garage Sales and Fetes are advertised in the Saturday edition of the Canberra Times.
- You are able to rent electrical items such as TVs and fridges.
Don't rush into any agreement without careful consideration. It is wise to know your limitations financially when looking for a property. However, don't waste your precious time trying to find the 'perfect' accommodation.