Frequently asked questions
Students back to top
House Hunting Tips
Whether you’re moving out of home or arriving in Sydney from abroad, renting can be a little daunting at first. If you’re planning to live off campus, follow these tips to improve your house-hunting skills.
1. Work out what you can afford
Rent will only be one of your expenses but don’t forget gas, electricity, Internet and furniture, as many properties come unfurnished. You’ll also need to pay a bond, which is normally the equivalent of four weeks rent. If your rental isn’t near the university, figure out how much it will cost to travel there over the year.
2. Attend a workshop
At the beginning of each semester, the University run house hunting workshops for students. Find out when the next one is being will be held by contacting Student Accommodation Services.
3. Get in quick
Accommodation on campus and in surrounding suburbs is extremely popular and can be booked up fast – especially at the start of semester. Start looking at least two to three months before you want to move in. You need time to check a few places before making a decision.
4. Think outside the box
In addition to the usual flat-share in a privately-owned apartment or house, why not investigate some of the other low-cost accommodation options near campus.
Purpose-built student apartments are a great option if you’re looking to explore Sydney independently, but want to stay close to a student community. Many offer fantastic city views, and quiet places for group work and solo study. Start by checking out:
Student boarding houses are also very common around the inner west of Sydney, offering a similar collegiate experience to living on campus. Most are run by a church or humanitarian group. What’s included in your rent will vary from one place to another. Check out:
5. Don't be afraid to ask questions
Write a list of questions and ask the landlord or property manager. Does the rental include utilities or internet access? Are you allowed to have guests? What facilities are shared? (eg, laundry). What about pets, parking, bicycle lockup?
6. Know your legal rights as a tenant
Check out these resources:
- Share Housing Survival Guide
- Fair Trading NSW
- Tenants NSW
- Residential Tenancies Act
- SRC's legal advice for undergraduate students
- SUPRA's legal advice for postgraduate students
7. Look before you pay
Make sure you thoroughly inspect any property before paying a deposit or signing a contract. Never pay money through a funds transfer to someone you don’t know.
How do I access the Off-Campus Housing Database?
You must first register for an account using your University of Sydney email address.
Once registered, you will be able to sign in to the Off-Campus Housing Database and search for rooms or properties.
I only require short-term housing, what options do I have?
Often, real estate agents in Sydney are not able to offer a lease to someone who hasn't viewed the property. If you're moving here, you may need a temporary base while you find a longer term home.
Moving from interstate or overseas means a lot of upheaval, and finding long-term accommodation often means finding somewhere to stay short-term until your finances or long-term housing can be arranged.
There are several options available for short-term stay, such as backpackers hostels, hotels or serviced apartments. Some of the on-campus colleges also offer short-term stays during the winter and summer vacations. In all cases, you should make your own enquiries about the suitability and condition of the accommodation. Remember, book your short-term accommodation in advance as it will be popular at the start of semester.
If you need to move urgently, please contact Student Accommodation Services and we will help you with options for moving, or provide information about emergency housing and short-term housing.
Providers back to top
Practical Guide to Listing Your Property
1. Register as a provider
Listing your property in the Off-Campus Housing Database is straightforward and can be self-managed. Upon registration you will be select an email and password and with that, you will be able to list your property and make any changes as time goes on. All listings will be sent to Student Accommodation Services and an Accommodation Officer will verify the information and approve the listing, which will then be made available to all users.
2. New listing
After registering as a provider, you can proceed to create a new listing. This will give you the opportunity to include information about your property, the type of room available, the location of your property and the type of student you will welcome as a tenant.
Some of the fields are mandatory. Include as much information as you can as this will ensure your property comes up if the students are searching using keywords. Familiarise yourself with the terminology that is commonly used to describe properties.
Be specific in your descriptions as this will ensure your listing stands out. Please note that language and tone used must adhere to anti-discrimination legislation.
3. Multiple rooms/properties
You can list multiple rooms in the same listing. You will be able to add separate details for additional bedrooms however you can only put in one rent price per week. If the rent rates are different for the different rooms, include the information in the ‘Additional details’ section. Each bedroom in the listing has to belong to the same residential address.
If you have multiple properties, you will have to create separate listings for each of them.
4. Bonds and rental agreements
You have the choice to ask for a rental bond from the student. If you do require a bond, by law, you will have to lodge the bond with NSW Fair Trading. Refer to information on Being a Landlord for details on your duties as landlord.
Please also refer to the University’s Term & Conditions for providers.
5. Update previous listing
You can always update your listing at any time if you need to amend the advertised information. You will need your email and password to log in to your account.
Listings expire after four weeks but you can close it before this time if you find someone to occupy the property.
All amendments will be reviewed by the Accommodations Officer before being published.
6. Submit your listing
You will have to submit your listing in order for an Accommodation Officer to review and approve it. After entering the information, scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on ‘Preview’. Once you have checked all details are correct click on “Submit this listing”
Your listing will then be received by Student Accommodation Services and will be reviewed. It typically takes 2 business days for a listing to be reviewed and approved. If the Accommodation Officer has any queries about the information you will be contacted via email.
7. Enquiries from students
It is very likely that after you have successfully listed your property you will receive enquiries from students. We recommend that before you organise a time for viewing that you ask them questions about themselves to ensure they are a good fit. You may also wish to reiterate what you look for in a tenant in case they missed reading it in your listing.
It may be a good idea to have a list of questions prepared for when students ring with enquiries. Be clear with what you are offering, this way students know what to expect and you won’t waste time meeting applicants that aren’t suitable.
8. Ongoing management of your listing
Once you’re successful in securing a tenant, you will have to deactivate your listing on the Off-Campus Housing Database. This can be done by going into your listing and selecting the red ‘Close now’ button to the right of the page.
After 4 weeks, all listings will expire. You will receive a reminder email informing on the impending expiry; use this opportunity to log in to the Off-Campus Housing Database and update your listing. Don’t forget to submit the listing for approval.
If your listing is still on the Off-Campus Housing Database after 4 weeks, you may wish to revise your listing to better appeal to potential residents.
What is the Off-Campus Housing Database?
The University of Sydney provides a free-to-advertise service for private owners who wish to rent available rooms to students. The database is available to all current and future University of Sydney students and we encourage you to use it, especially if you are located near our campuses.
You will have to register for an account before you can advertise. Registration will provide you with a username and password, details that you will require to log in to the Off-Campus Housing Database.
Is my information secure if I advertise on the Off-Campus Housing Database?
All current and future students will be able to access the Off-Campus Housing Database. While going through the database, they will only be able to view the name listed under ‘Contact Person’, street name and suburb, and your contact details.
If you receive an enquiry that you suspect is not from a student, please contact us immediately.
How do I protect myself from scammers?
The University has systems in place to ensure the integrity of the Off-Campus Housing Database. However, you should be mindful of scams and be informed on where to seek assistance.
NSW Fair Trading is a useful resource in protecting yourself against scammers. It also contains information on how to avoid and how to report scams.
Our simple tip to you is not to give or receive money from someone whom you have not met! Endeavour to meet your potential tenant before agreeing to lease the room – there is nothing like meeting a person face-to-face to determine if they are suitable for your place.
What is the role of Student Accommodation Services?
Student Accommodation Service will look over your listing to ensure that it is aligned with the Tenancy Act and Anti-Discrimination Legislation. We will not match students up with potential landlords, rather, we will direct students to the Off-Campus Housing Database and the students themselves will contact you should they have any enquiries.
When do students typically look for accommodation?
The nature of the rental market with university students is a cyclical one. There will be an increase of volume during semester commencement which is March and August each year. Typically, students will start looking for accommodation a few months before the commencement of semester. There will be students looking for accommodation outside of this time but it will not be as busy as during semester commencement.
What do students look for when searching for accommodation?
Students' needs vary depending on where they are from and what level of studies they are undertaking at the University. However, there are certain basic elements that are applicable across the board.
Students, like anyone else, require:
- clean lodging
- secure lodging
Cleanliness and security are of utmost importance in attracting potential tenants. Make sure the property that you are leasing is neat and tidy.
Students also prefer accommodation that is:
- close to campus or
- a short distance away from public transport.
Students commute to the University frequently, so location and proximity to public transport are important information to include in your listing.
What types of accommodation do students prefer?
The requirement for the varying types of accommodation differs depending on the student. Typically, share accommodation is preferred as it is one of the cheaper options available. Some students prefer to stay alone and to them the prospect of a 1-bedroom or a studio will be preferable. There are also international students who prefer full board or homestay options as they see it as a chance to absorb Australian culture and to improve their command of the English language. Keep these factors in mind when filling in the information required on the Off-Campus Housing Database.
As young adults, most students prefer to have their own bedroom unless they are sharing with good friends, siblings or couples. If you advertising generically to the student body at the university, we advise that you only advertise if you have a full room to offer.
Are furnished or unfurnished accommodation more popular to students?
Furnished and unfurnished accommodation is equally popular. When advertising on the Off-Campus Housing Database, ensure that you mention the furnishings that accompany the property.
What is the recommended minimum or maximum rental amount?
Student Accommodation Services do not recommend a minimum or maximum rental amount. We advise that you research the surrounding areas to determine the acceptable rental amount. You may wish to refer to Domain or other rental sites for information on rent amounts.
Will my property be inspected by the University prior to approval?
Student Accommodation Services do not inspect your properties, we rely on the information you provide in your advertisement.
When will my listing be approved?
Once you submit your listing it will be reviewed by out office. It typically takes up to 48 hours for a listing to be approved. If we have any questions about the information in your listing you will be contacted by email.