It’s tough landing in a new country without somewhere to go from the airport, especially if you have a family. I get a lot of enquiries about where to stay when you first arrive before you can get a rental in Australia because it’s almost impossible to get one before you leave New Zealand.
The Australian rental market is quite similar to NZ but Australia is so much bigger, so it’s more competitive than New Zealand for both renting and buying.
Like New Zealand, there are positives and negatives to each city and each suburb and it is important to do research before you leave New Zealand, especially before you make any fixed arrangements.
Are you a New Zealander wanting to buy a house in Australia? There are some restrictions for foreigners wanting to buy property in Australia, depending on your visa and residence status.
Find advice on how you can buy your dream home in Australia and some smart tips to avoid paying more than you need to in fees and charges in my buying a house in Australia post.
What you will find in this post:
It is highly recommended to give yourself some time to find which city and then suburb suits you and your family best before you buy or rent any real estate in Australia and sign into a fixed-term agreement, which most leases are.
Editor’s Note: I recommend living in short term accommodation when you first move to Australia. A lot of the apartments and Motels will give you a good rate for a fixed time, e.g. five weeks or three months. Australian suburbs are a lot bigger than NZ, the distance is quite deceiving on a map.
When we first moved to Australia we moved to the Gold Coast. After moving from Broadbeach to Surfers Central, then to Main Beach, we finally decided that Brisbane would be better for work and us, so we moved up there. Lucky we had family to stay with for three months while we got to know Brisbane.
We ended up living in Bulimba, which had everything we were looking for. The only way we found out about Bulimba was from a Taxi driver after we had been there for six weeks. TALK TO EVERYONE and find out from people who have lived in the city the pros and cons of the different suburbs. It helps to know what type of suburb you like to live in and to give yourself time to do the research.
Researching cities and suburbs is quite easy and fun in our modern age. There are a lot of posts like this, with someone’s opinion and an outline of their research. Believe me, we read a lot of articles/posts when writing content. My key search terms when looking for a rental in Australia would be the best places to live in Australia (quite general short info), best suburbs to live in ‘city‘ (make sure that it’s current by the date), up and coming suburbs in ‘Brisbane‘.
Have a read of my which city to move to in Australia post to find out general information about the city, pros and cons, the population, climate, transport, economy, and top draw cards to the area.
While you are still deciding which Australian suburb you want to live in and waiting for your furniture to arrive, here are a few short-term living options.
The best and cheapest option, as not only will you get cheaper board you will also be able to discuss different suburbs with them as you are exploring.
Next cheapest is Airbnb! This wasn’t around when we moved, but I wish it was. There are so many renting options. It allows people to lease or rent short-term lodging including holiday cottages, apartments, homestays, hostel beds, or hotel rooms at great rates: https://www.airbnb.com.au/.
Most short-term Australian rental accommodations will give a special rate for a fixed-term stay of five weeks or more. You will need to contact each place directly (Google search) but the rate will end up close to what renting will be without having to sign into anything long-term. This will give you time to explore your new city and its suburbs.
On Craigslist you can find a lot of different housing options including apartments/housing, housing swap, housing wanted, office/commercial, parking/storage, real estate for sale, rooms/shared, sublets/temporary and vacation rentals.
Australia has heaps of good websites for people looking for a flat/flatmate if you are a single wanting a room to rent, rather than a rental to yourself.
Here is a list of all the websites that have flatmate listings:
The Australian rental market is very competitive, especially in the main cities. Most Australian rentals will require you to submit a tenancy application, accompanied by the following documents.
I recommend preparing the below before you leave NZ and having it ready to go:
I get a number of comments from New Zealanders who have owned their home for so long they don’t have any written reference letters from landlords.
The importance of good references from prior landlords, real estate agents and property managers is to prove you’ll be a reliable tenant, that you’ll pay your rent on time and that you’ll treat the property as if it were your own.
You need to state/prove that you are a trustworthy person in another way. As an alternative, you can get character references from the former:
This post has some useful tips for the Australian rental market: https://www.finder.com.au/tips-for-a-successful-rental-application.
Most real estate agencies will require potential tenants to include at least 100 points of ID. To collect these points there are multiple documents that have a value that can add up to 100 points. The most commonly used documents are a passport (50 points), driver’s licence (40 points) and bank statement (20 points).
Below lists the type of documents and their points value. Before you gather the documents make sure you check with the property manager as to their criteria because this may vary for different agencies. If you have in possession the application form then it should be clearly outlined the acceptable documents.
|Documents required for 100 points identification check||Per|
|Drivers Licence||40 points|
|Photo ID (e.g. 18 plus card)||40 points|
|Bank Statement||20 points|
|Birth Certificate||20 points|
|Utility Bills with Current Address||20 points|
|Current Tenant Rent ledger||20 points|
|Current Vehicle registration||20 points|
|Centrelink Statement||20 points|
|Last 2 Rent Receipts||20 points|
|Medicare Card||10 points|
|Written rental reference.||10 points|
All the best properties are snapped up quickly, so there isn’t much point in seriously looking and applying until you are two weeks away from being ready to move in.
However, I always like to do my research and get to know the areas in the city in moving to. The more expensive the area, the more desirable it is and properly lovely to live in. There are always up-and-coming areas, which are cheaper.
Houses and apartments come furnished or unfurnished and are generally for a fixed term of six months but more likely a year. You should be able to extend a rental without any issues.
Editor’s Note: We didn’t have all the documentation ready when we first started applying for rentals and we missed out on a couple. Once we got reference letters from our previous landlords and proof that we were great tenants, we applied for four places and got the option of two.
Connecting utilities in Australia is not as simple as in New Zealand because all the utility companies want paperwork/documentation, e.g. proof of address, 3 months’ bank statements, and driver’s licence and you will not have what they want if you have just moved to Australia.
However, if you use a third-party promotion company you’ll get all your utilities connection for you, at the best price, with one phone call! They don’t require proof of address or three months’ bank statements and will arrange all your connections with one phone call. They offer all current specials run by suppliers, which are normally the cheapest and/or best deal you would get if you were to do all the research yourself, from all suppliers… what I did first!
Read my New Utility Connection Service post.
It is normal for landlords to request between 2-4 weeks’ rent as a bond and 2-4 weeks’ rent in advance. This means that you will need to be prepared to front up with somewhere between 4 and 8 weeks’ rent before moving into your new place. Your bond with be lodged with the Residential Tenancies Bond Authority (RTBA) and returned to you minus the cost of any damages when you leave.
There are things you need to know about in the Australian property market that are different to New Zealand. Like stamp duty, FHOG, capital gains, tax obligations on overseas assets, etc.
As a NZ citizen, you are able to buy property in Australia and everything works the same as if you were an Australian citizen buying property in Australia.
However, if you are not a NZ citizen there are some restrictions for foreigners wanting to buy property in Australia, depending on your visa and residence status.
Read my buying a house in Australia post for some advice on how you can buy your dream home in Australia and some smart tips to avoid paying more than you need to in fees and charges.
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If you’ve read the above content and the answer to your question isn’t there, please write a comment below and I’ll research the answer for you. Please note, if the answer to your question is in the content above, I will not reply. Sorry, I just get too many questions these days and I can’t keep up.