It’s always a hectic time when you are moving into a new place. If you are renting, it’s more complicated as you have to sign the lease, complete the tenant entry condition as well as pay the bond! Sometimes, international students face problems and are taken advantage of because they are not familiar with the laws in Australia or the fact that they have rights (as well as responsibilities) as tenants.
In Australia, the laws that apply to tenancy agreements are different from state to state (these websites contain information relevant for that particular state in Australia: Victoria, NSW, South Australia, Western Australia). If you are renting in Queensland, you should look up the Residential Tenancies Authority website. This is an impartial government service that looks after rental laws and provides the following services:
1. RTA website – all RTA forms, fact sheets, publications and information can be accessed free of charge.
2. Client Contact Centre – for the cost of a local call, RTA staff give information and answer questions about your rights and responsibilities. Telephone 1300 366 311.
3. Rental Bond Services – the RTA holds the tenants’ bond until the tenancy ends and then this money is refunded to the tenant
4. Dispute Resolution Services – the RTA acts as an impartial third person to help settle disputes between the tenant and property owner/manager
5. Investigations Unit – the RTA staff will investigate any complaints about offences under Queensland renting laws.
Meleana from New York: I am renting a house from a young couple. Since it is their house, they let me use everything they own. All of the kitchen appliances are for use which saves a lot of money! They are very nice and I am happy with my entire living situation.
Sung Min Kim from Korea: Apart from the fact that my landlord can be intrusive, I have no complaints to make about my tenancy. She often drops in without any notice, just to check on us and once, I woke up in the morning to find her son in the living room using the WiFi! I know she doesn’t have the right to do this, but I don’t want problems so I just ignore it.
Tori from China: My landlord has been very good to me. She gave me all the information before we signed the lease for 6 months. I haven’t had any problems with my tenancy, thankfully!
If you are renting in Queensland, your landlord has to provide you with the RTA guide to the rules of renting in QLD the RTA guide book, which covers the tenant’s rights and responsibilities for various types of accommodation in QLD. Make sure you know your rights and responsibilities. I found this website with rental tips very useful as it outlines the main differences between the states as well as giving a number of tips of what to do before you sign the lease. The main thing to keep in mind is that once you have signed the tenancy agreement, it is a legal and binding document, so take some time to read the contract and ask any questions you may have before you sign it!
We would love to hear your experiences as a tenant in Australia!