House and Apartment Rentals

When you first arrive you may choose to rent an apartment or rent a house. Victoria has a wide range of homes for rent.

Rent

Rental properties and costs vary widely across Victoria's towns and suburbs. How much you can afford will be a key factor in choosing where you live and what style of home you live in.

When you first arrive, you should compare rent prices in different areas. Neighbouring suburbs can vary in price enormously, as can different properties in one suburb. For a basic guide to the cost of housing in each major regional and metropolitan town, use our map of Victoria and navigate to the town you're interested in.

Housing types

Houses

In Australia, houses are generally free-standing buildings, or attached buildings, but with no neighbours living above or below you.

A row of town houses in a housing estate

Units and apartments

Units or apartments generally have at least two floors of homes in a building, so your neighbours may live beside, above or below you. Many units are separate buildings or only share a common wall.

High rise apartments on the waterfront

Houses and apartments may be as little as a few months old, or anywhere up to 150 years old. They may be made of brick, concrete, or timber (sometimes called weatherboard).

Homes usually include one to four bedrooms, a kitchen, one or two bathrooms, laundry and living space. Larger homes also include a second or third living area/dining room, and a garage or carport.

Features and furnishings

Most homes for rent have heating and some have air-conditioning. Carpets, curtains or blinds, light fittings, kitchen cupboards, hot water systems and stoves/ovens are generally included. Rentals can also include built-in wardrobes or a dishwasher.

Fully furnished houses are sometimes available but not very common in Victoria, so you may need to purchase items such as fridges and freezers, washing machines and clothes dryers, beds, tables, chairs and sofas or lounge suites. To reduce costs, you can buy second-hand goods from local traders, or through the following websites:

How to find a house or apartment to rent

Houses and apartments are generally rented through real estate agents, but you can also rent directly from the owner. Many real estate agents produce a weekly list of available rentals. Use the Real Estate Industry of Victoria (REIV) agency search tool to find real estate agents in your area.

There are also many websites available to help you find a home to rent, including:

Rental properties are also listed in major metropolitan, local and regional newspapers.

Shared accommodation

Depending on your circumstances, you might find it easier to apply to share accommodation, rather than renting a house or apartment on your own.

In Victoria, people who rent or own houses sometimes rent out a single room. You can also apply together to rent a home as a group.

Rooms to rent are sometimes advertised on noticeboards in local shops, post offices and libraries or on the following websites:

Viewing and applying for homes to rent

Some areas in Victoria have a very limited supply of rentals. This means that looking at houses and applying for them may take longer than you think. Most real estate agents will not accept an application to rent a property unless you or your representative (like a friend or family member) has seen the house or apartment.

The three main ways to view a property for rent are:

  • attend an open for inspection held at a specific time
  • make an appointment with the real estate agent
  • collect the key from the real estate agent's office.

If you're attending an open for inspection, the real estate agent may ask for your name and phone number, for security. If you're collecting a key from an agent, you may need to leave a copy of your photo identification (such as a licence or passport), and a deposit of up to A$100.

You should inspect the rental property before you sign any agreement and carefully check that everything works properly including the oven, plumbing, lights, heating, security systems, door and window locks.

Once you've decided you like the house or apartment, you'll need to fill in an application, with information about where you've lived and worked before arriving. Many applications request references, so if you've rented before you should bring written references with you to Australia.

Power and water

Before moving into your rental, you need to connect your utilities such as electricity, gas, water and telephone. The real estate agent can refer you to different providers. For more information and a list of gas, electricity and water providers, visit the Essential Services Commission website or Your Choice website

Renting rules and regulations

Before you start looking for a home, you should know about the rules and regulations of the real estate and home rental industry. These include:

Sign a lease

A lease is a contract between you and the landlord. It records details such as:

  • how long you can live in the house
  • how much rent you must pay and when you must pay it
  • whether there are any special conditions about your home (such as keeping pets).

Any issues with the rental property should be agreed with your real estate agent and recorded on a rental inspection sheet before you sign a lease.

Pay a bond

The cost of the bond is generally around one month to six weeks rent. Your bond is kept by the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority until you move out. When you move out, the bond you paid will generally be refunded, less any costs incurred for cleaning or repairs that were your responsibility.

Complete a condition report

Before you move in, check that everything works as it should (like the oven, taps and drains, lights, heating, security systems and locks) and is in good order (like paint, floors and carpets, and glass or other window fittings).

You should note anything that needs to be fixed or replaced on the condition report, and bring it to the attention of your real estate agent or landlord, so that they are aware of it.

For more information on renting, visit the Consumer Affairs Victoria website.