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Accommodation options in Melbourne vary in size and standard with something to suit every taste and budget. Competition for accommodation is fierce and the market moves at a rapid pace, so expats will need to act quickly if they find something they like.
Most foreigners moving to the metropolis opt to rent accommodation, a common and practical decision due to the high costs attached to buying property in Australia. Rental property in Melbourne also tends to be more affordable than other state capitals in Australia, such as Sydney and Canberra.
Rental prices vary a great deal, but modern high-rise studio apartments in the city centre and properties in sought-after beachside suburbs are particularly expensive.
Types of accommodation in Melbourne
Many expats who move to Melbourne live in apartments owing to the relatively large supply available in the city. Houses are more suitable for families, but the more affordable rental houses tend to be in locations further out from the central business district.
Expats should bear in mind that many rental houses are built in an older style that is less equipped for extreme temperatures. Particularly during winter, when it can get quite cold, expats should have a portable heater on hand to keep warm, and a fan to keep cool during the summer months. More modern accommodation may have an air-conditioning unit, which are a definite plus.
After deciding on the accommodation type that suits their needs best, expats will need to select which suburb they would like to live in. There are plenty of appealing areas in Melbourne, and before settling on a single suburb it's worth considering aspects such as the proximity to Melbourne’s city centre, the public transport available and the accessibility of services and amenities such as supermarkets, doctors and restaurants.
Finding accommodation in Melbourne
There are a number of ways to search for accommodation in Melbourne. Most properties are managed by real estate agents. There are a number of advantages to working directly with real-estate agents as they have good knowledge of the city and often have access to properties before they are publicly advertised.
For those who decide to go it alone, local newspapers are a good source, as are real-estate websites and online property portals. Word of mouth and connecting with other expats can also be a way to find leads off the beaten track.
Bear in mind that rental advertisements often list a weekly rather than monthly price, so be sure to double check the period that the cost of rent is quoted for before rejoicing about an especially good deal.
Renting accommodation in Melbourne
Making an application
To rent accommodation, applicants will need to provide references as well as numerous documents proving their identity. This is done according to a national standard known as the 100-point check, where various types of ID documents are each assigned a particular amount of points. Applicants must submit documents with a total value of at least 100 points to be considered.
Leases and deposits
Leases for rental property in Melbourne are usually for a one-year period and require a month’s rent as a deposit. The deposit is refundable and is usually returned at the end of the tenancy provided there are no damages to the property. Otherwise, cleaning or repair costs will be taken out of the deposit before the balance is refunded.
Rent for accommodation in Melbourne is typically payable at the end of each month, or in some cases fortnightly, either to the real-estate agent or landlord.
Utility bills are usually not included in the rental price and are the responsibility of the tenant to pay. When searching for accommodation, expats should be sure to consider the added cost of utilities in Melbourne.
Australian housing, including that in Victoria, is generally quite energy inefficient, and there is often an increased need for electricity, gas and water.
►Unsure about where to live in the city? See Areas and Suburbs in Melbourne for some guidance.
Are you an expat living in Melbourne?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Melbourne. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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