Written by Craig Dixon
Whether it is your first time living away from home, the latest in a long line of moves, or just a temporary stay whilst on placement, over the course of your studies there is a good chance that you may find yourself one of the many students who are looking for a place to stay.
This can be one of the most fun and exciting things you do whilst at university, but can also come with a series of questions that you must ask yourself. There are many things to consider when making the choice on where you wish to stay, depending on your budget, location, and the lifestyle that you want to lead.
Choosing the right type of place
One of the first things to consider is what type of place you want to live in. A quick search of the local market might yield a variety of houses that are close to where you are studying. Depending on the lease conditions, these can often come with plenty of room, car space, as well as a fair degree of privacy.
Choosing to rent a house can be an exciting opportunity, but there are several factors to take into consideration. For a start, houses can be expensive. Depending on the place, they can also come with a variety of commitments, such as the possibility that you may be responsible for things like garden and lawn maintenance that can quickly become tiresome (and expensive). These things don’t necessarily make them unsuitable for everybody, but are worthy of consideration when weighing up your options.
If you want something that is lower maintenance, you might consider looking for a flat or apartment. Once again, these can vary wildly in size and cost, although are often more affordable. They can also be much less demanding in time and cost. Ultimately, when deciding what type of place will suit you better, it is important to weigh up the factors that matter the most to you.
Do you want to live on your own, or do you plan on having housemates? This is one of the important questions that can have a big impact on where you decide to live. Being on your own can be great for privacy and independence, but can also be lonely (and more expensive!). Living with someone else can make things cheaper and easier if you fairly share expenses and responsibilities.
There are several things to consider if you do decide to share a property. Do you and your housemate(s) have similar expectations in regards to things like noise, privacy, and responsibilities around the house? Do you know the person (or people) that you are moving in with, or are you hoping to make friends as part of the journey?
Living in a share house environment can be one of the most unique and exciting parts of the university experience, but it is important to make sure that you share or at least understand the expectations you have from each other before taking the plunge.
As part of the search for your new home, it is important to consider not only the place itself, but the location that it is situated in. Does it take you a long time to get to and from your classes? Will you need a car, or is suitable public transport nearby? How safe is it? It pays to at least have some idea of your potential new neighbourhood, particularly when moving to a town or city that you may be new to.
As well as they type of place, living arrangements, and location, there are several other important factors to consider before settling on a place. As well as rent, many places can often come with less obvious costs, such as utilities, furniture, appliances, and transportation needs, that can quickly add up. It is also important to be aware of any particular unique requirements that might be included in any agreements you sign, such noise curfews and maintenance duties.
Ultimately, it is also important to look out for yourself. Depending on what state or territory you are in, there should be relevant state bodies and unions looking out for your rights as a tenant. It is important to be aware of your rights and responsibilities in the unlikely event you may find yourself in trouble.
Finding a place to live is one of the biggest decisions faced by students. Thankfully, as a Charles Sturt University student you have free access to the Charles Sturt Off-Campus Accommodation Service. This service consists of a Database that includes listings of whole properties, vacant rooms in share houses, and boarding opportunities to help you find the right place for you to stay!