So what’s the fine print? What IS Semester in Australia’s Housing Service?
Semester in Australia can do all the hard work for you so you can just arrive and move right into your new Aussie home. But before you commit, we like you to have as much information as possible. Below is information on our housing service and what you can expect – the fine print.
Accommodation in Australia may be very different from what you are used to in your home country, in that Australian universities are very much commuter campuses, with little or no university housing provided to students. As a result, securing housing before you depart for Australia can be difficult. Good, affordable student accommodation can be hard to find and Australian Universities suggest that students arrive two to three weeks early to secure suitable permanent accommodation.
But what if you could secure your accommodation before you left for Australia? Semester in Australia (SiA) works with students to pre-arrange quality housing for you – taking the hassle, time and uncertainty out of finding a place to live in a new country. Students can go straight from the airport to their new home!
Semester in Australia offers a reliable accommodation and arrivals service, providing fully furnished rental accommodation that international students ordinarily would not be able to secure until your arrival in Australia. It is important to note that SiA does not own or operate the housing provided to students and instead, we offer a housing service, whereby we pre-arrange and secure suitable fully-furnished housing from the pool of privately and independently owned rental accommodation in the suburbs surrounding your Australian university campus.
Semester in Australia works closely with local landlords and real estate agents to secure good, affordable student rental accommodation that you can book before coming to Australia.
SiA has been vetted and approved as a service provider by many major Australian universities (including the Australian Catholic University, Griffith University, Sydney University, and Melbourne University).
IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT STUDENT HOUSING IN AUSTRALIA:
- Australian universities are very much commuter campuses, with over 90% of students living off campus. Most Australian students attend a university in their home state/city – it’s rare for students to travel interstate to attend another university. Therefore, most Australian students live at home with their families or in rental accommodation with friends, and commute to campus each day.
- There is little, if any, Australian University-owned housing for students that can be pre-arranged/booked before coming to Australia. Unlike other countries where University housing/dorms are provided for most of the students (like the USA for example), there is limited to no on-campus housing offered by Australian universities. This is a cultural difference, given that most Australian students live at home and commute to campus. For example, one major Australian university has a student population of over 40,000 students with only 2,000 on-campus housing places available, while other Australian universities have no on-campus housing. Therefore, international students are advised to arrive 2-3 weeks early to search for suitable off-campus accommodation.
- Australian universities don’t really have a ‘college town’ feel, with concentrated areas of student housing/living. The student population is spread across surrounding suburbs, near and far (as most Australian students live at home with their families). Therefore, the location of housing is important – being near like-minded students, public transport and shopping/entertainment.
- Short term, fully furnished housing is very expensive in Australia, particularly within major metropolitan areas and within close proximity to universities.
ENQUIRIES & RESERVATIONS
If after reading the following information you would like to book Semester in Australia Housing, you will first need to submit an online enquiry or booking form.
If you have not done so already, please submit the enquiry or booking form, making sure you provide all the required information, including your housing choice/preference, and providing your required housing dates.
Most rooms are Single, but some accommodation allows for two people to share a room (with two single beds). If you would like to share a room with someone you know, please tell us the name of the other person that you would like to share with on your booking form.
Upon receipt of your Enquiry/Reservation Form we will let you know by return email whether your housing selection is available with a reservation confirmation email.
HOUSING HOLDING DEPOSIT
When you have submitted your booking form you will receive a reservation confirmation email from SiA with details about how you can confirm your booking and secure your Semester in Australia Housing. You will be required to pay a non-refundable holding deposit of AUD$250-300 (depending on the Australian City). This deposit is used to reserve your room and is deducted from your overall SiA housing fees (it represents your Security Deposit/Bond and it is not an extra fee). However, the holding deposit is non-refundable should you decide not to go ahead with your final booking for any reason.
Details on paying your deposit are sent in your booking confirmation email.
SO HOW DO WE HELP? AT SiA WE . . .
- Help students secure great quality, convenient housing before leaving home. You will have all the details, including your address before landing in Australia. You will go right from the airport to your new home.
- Have housing that is fully furnished, including everything you need in the kitchen (fridge, pots and pans, cutlery, plates), TV, and washing machine.*
- Include essential things such as gas, water, electricity, and internet in the housing fee. This takes the hassle out of setting it up and means no extra bills to pay.
- Take great care to find great housing conveniently located close to university campuses (either walking distance or a short bus ride), as well as making sure our housing is walking distance to supermarkets and food outlets, shopping and entertainment.
- Place you with other students studying in your city. This way you are sharing with students who are like-minded and ready to experience Australia in the same way as you!
- Do not lock you in for a 6 or 12 month lease, just the weeks of the semester (unlike most landlords). You have the option to extend your contract, but we do not lock you in upfront.
- Include arrival support, with our on-site Resident Director there to help you move in and familiarise you with the local area. We can also assist with setting up a mobile/cell phone.
- Include an Exit Clean so there are not issues upon leaving/vacating at the end of semester – just pack up, tidy up and move out.
Additionally, SiA inspects all of our housing closely prior to confirming bookings for students to ensure it is up to our standards. At the end of each semester, all of our accommodation is professionally cleaned and inspected to make sure everything is in good order (including checking on any necessary repairs, replacing any broken or missing items).
Facilities in SiA housing can vary, but each one meets our standards. Some of our housing may have extras, such as air-conditioning, fans, dishwashers, clothes dryers. Some on-site managers/landlords may be able to provide extra items on request, but this cannot be guaranteed. However, students are also able to buy or rent other items based on their individual or group preferences.
Past participants have been very satisfied with the housing we lease and their proximity to the University, as well as entertainment and recreational opportunities.
Detailed photos of our housing can be seen on our Facebook page here.
*If your housing option does not include a washing machine you will be informed before you confirm your housing. Purpose built student accommodation/dorm style accommodation usually provide common laundries with coin-operated washing machines and dryers.
WHO WILL I BE LIVING WITH?
All Semester in Australia accommodations are shared residences. This means students will be living with 1-5 other student tenants and will be sharing the kitchen, bathroom and living space with the other tenants in the housing.
What does this mean for you?
You need to communicate well with your housemates in order to make sure that shared areas are kept clean. You also need to respect the privacy needs of room mates, including study or sleep; and comply with strict rules regarding noise regulation and use of facilities (see Housing Agreement information below).
Due to varying program numbers and participants, all SiA housing is sanctioned as ‘co-ed’, meaning male and female students may be placed in housing together. All shared rooms are, however, single-sex rooms. On the reservation form, under ‘Questions/concerns additional request’, you may request to live in a single-sex housing. SiA will endeavour to meet your request, but please note that due to program participant variations, we cannot guarantee single-sex accommodation.
All Semester in Australia housing is NON-SMOKING. This is Site Management ruling of all rental properties, and therefore no smoking is allowed inside any of the SiA accommodation, including on any balconies. Therefore, smoking and non-smoking students may be placed together (since no smoking is allowed inside the home).
Complete details of expectations and responsibilities of a student tenant in Semester in Australia housing can be found here SiA Student Code of Conduct Policy.
Information regarding our drug and alcohol use is outlined in the SiA Drug and Alcohol Policy 2017.
Housing and Roommate Assignment
Your housing assignment/address details will be sent to you a few weeks before your departure. In most cases, students will know the names and email addresses of their housemates before they depart for Australia.
Group Bookings: We are flexible and can accommodate the majority of roommate requests because we manage our own program housing. Therefore, you may select to live with other friends who may also be studying in Brisbane. Students who select to live with each other must all complete an Enquiry/Reservation Form listing each other’s names on the form, and pay their Holding Deposit at or around the same time in order to guarantee that an entire housing will be held for the group of students. That is, several rooms/an entire housing will not be held if just one student has paid their Housing Deposit.
WHAT DOES ‘FULLY FURNISHED’ MEAN?
Most housing includes the following basic items (listed below), although your housing may include additional items depending on the housing option and landlord preferences.
Bedrooms: Individual single bed, study desk and chair, wardrobe
Kitchen: Refrigerator, toaster, crockery, glasses, cutlery, kitchen utensils, pots & pans, stove, microwave and conventional oven.
Bathroom: Permanent bathroom fixtures (shower, basin, towel rack, toilet)
Living/Dining: Sofa set, coffee table, TV, dining table and chairs.
Utilities: Internet, water, gas and electricity connections and usage.
The housing DOES NOT include: meals, bed linens and bath towels, cable TV, telephone connections and usage.
HOUSING CULTURAL DIFFERENCES:
Central heating/cooling systems, such as air conditioners, are not common in Australia as with most other (Northern Hemisphere) countries. Most of the housing will not have air conditioning and use ceiling fans only as their method of cooling. It is also highly unlikely that there will be any sort of central heating.
Australians are very environmentally conscious and utilities are extremely expensive, therefore Australians do not use excessive cooling or heating (there is rarely central air-conditioning or heating). Instead, Australians dress according to the weather. You will be expected to ‘live like an Australian’ and wear clothing suited to the temperatures. Tenants may find housing quite chilly in winter, and therefore warmer clothing will be required when inside. In summer, the housing may be quite warm, so tenants should wear lighter clothing and use a fan.
As Semester in Australia does not own the housing, we are unable to guarantee or install any air conditioning units. Under extreme climate conditions participants can purchase fans to help alleviate the more extreme temperatures and occasional weather changes.
Also, for some reason in Australia, housing will have a wardrobe with hanging space only, and no drawers. Students may purchase a set of drawers from the local Target or Kmart should they wish to have drawer space.
LEASE / HOUSING DATES:
Leases are in line with the Australian academic year and usually run from February – June (Semester 1) and July – November (Semester 2). The Semester Housing Fee covers the student for the term of the lease (the Semester).
Semester in Australia is not short-term accommodation, and students should understand they are legally bound by the SiA Service Agreement and Lease to pay rent for the duration of their lease. If a student does wish to cancel their Agreement, it must be in writing and rent must be continued to be paid until a replacement tenant can be found. More details regarding cancellations and refunds can be found in our SiA Refund Policy 2017.
You are not locked into a year-long lease, as is usual with other pre-arranged accommodation. You can sign up with our housing for your first semester, making your arrival and transition easier. After your semester you will be familiar with your surroundings and your Australian City. You have the option to move out and find your own accommodation or you are welcome to stay with us for as many semesters as you like!
HOUSING SECURITY DEPOSIT
A Security Deposit charge is in addition to the Semester Housing Fee. The Security Deposit/Bond is required and is in accordance with the State’s Residential Tenancies Act (RTA). It is lodged with the RTA and held in a separate account, and students will be requested to sign a Bond Lodgement Form upon arrival. Information regarding the Security Deposit/Bond will be outlined in your SiA Service Agreement upon confirming your booking/housing reservation. This Security Deposit/Bond is refundable, less any excess cleaning and damage costs, at the end of your program. Any excess cleaning required (e.g. rubbish removal and trips to the Tip) will be charged out of the bond.
Students are required to leave their housing in satisfactory condition, with all furniture and other provided items accounted for and intact. Items missing or damaged in a student’s particular bedroom will be charged directly to the student, while any missing or damaged items in a shared area (e.g. kitchen, living room, etc) will be shared as a household group. Generally, you will receive the deposit refund 2-4 weeks after the conclusion of the semester. For further information and to become familiar with security deposit government rules/requirements visit:
TELEPHONE AND CABLE TV
Phone and cable TV services are not included, unless otherwise indicated. Students arrange their own phone and cable TV service upon arrival. Most students purchase mobile/cell phones instead of a normal residential and line phone. Semester in Australia is able to offer the added convenience of arranging an Australian SIM Card and/or mobile phone for you during the booking process.
Basic utilities such as internet, gas, electricity, and water are included in your Semester Housing Fee. The inclusion of utilities in the fee was implemented to reduce the number of bills students had to track and pay. Past participants noted it was difficult to coordinate and collect payments from all residents in a timely and efficient manner due to varying schedules. You will not be liable for further utility charges unless you experience excessive usage. Your residence will be notified of excessive utility bills before you are charged additional fees.
Students/residents are responsible for maintaining and cleaning the housing. You will be responsible for keeping your room clean and laundering your own sheets and towels. There is a washing machine in each housing, and in some cases landlords provide clothes dryers (otherwise a clothes line is provided). You will also be asked to help preserve the general order of bathrooms, kitchen and common areas and to wash your dishes, etc. As housemates all move out at different dates and times, SiA includes a final exit clean to make it easy and fair for everyone in the housing. This means that you can just tidy up, pack up and move out.
HOUSING OPTIONS AND FEES
All Semester in Australia housing options and corresponding fees for each Australian city/location are on our website.
Students can indicate which housing they prefer, however, due to space limitations at each location, students may not get their preferred choice. It is best to apply as early as possible to secure your preferred housing option.
There is also an opportunity to share a room (at a reduced price per student) with some housing options. The share room will have two single beds. Housing preferences will be allocated on a ‘first come, first served’ basis – that is, housing allocations will be made as Semester Housing Fees are paid. Therefore, confirming your place and finalising payment of the Semester Housing Fee early, will better your chance of securing your housing preference.
SiA HOUSING SERVICES AGREEMENT
Semester in Australia has worked hard to establish strong relationships with local Real Estate Agents and landlords, securing suitable fully-furnished rental accommodation for you (privately owned houses and apartments available in the rental pool). Therefore, maintaining the properties is very important, as it ensures the housing/service will be available to students in future semesters. Additionally, the safety and well-being of each of our students is paramount.
To ensure both the rental property and the well-being of residents is maintained, each student resident will be required to read and sign a Semester in Australia Services Agreement. This document details the services which we will provide to you, the cost of those services and your obligations in respect to your accommodation.
The document also outlines tenancy information in accordance with Australian State law. Once the Holding Deposit has been received, the Housing Agreement and final invoice with payment details will be emailed to you. Students must read, sign and return the agreement upon final payment by the due date and finalising the housing booking.
In addition to the Services Agreement you will be required to sign SiA House Rules. This document covers general house rules, maintenance, cleaning, repairs, and a general ‘code of conduct’ for each student to stress the importance of the safety and well-being of all residents.
PRE DEPARTURE AND ARRIVAL SERVICES
As part of the Semester in Australia Housing Service, we provide students with pre- departure and arrival assistance. We believe that providing essential pre-departure information and settling students upon arrival, makes for a good start and sets students up for a great first Semester in Australia!
Semester in Australia provides students with informational emails regarding the pre-departure and arrival process (for example, information regarding applying for the Student Visa, airport reception services and arrival into Australia).
Upon confirmation of their booking, students will be provided with the suggested arrival and move-in dates. It is strongly recommended that students arrive and move-in during the specified dates. If required, it may be possible to adjust these times to suit the needs of the student. However, varying move-in dates are subject to availability and cannot be guaranteed.
Additionally, we offer students arrival assistance with an on-site Resident Director who will meet/greet and check students into their housing, familiarising them with their new home. Students will be introduced to other tenants in our housing program, and the Resident Director will help to familiarise students with their new surroundings with a guided tour to the University campus, local shops, and public transportation. Upon arrival , each student is provided with a Welcome Pack containing essential information regarding living and studying at their Australian university. Included in the Welcome Pack is information on what you need to do to get started at the university, campus and city maps, a public transport pass with public transport timetable information so you are ready to get around, and tourist information/guides on things to see/do around your Australian host city.