Visit University of Newcastle Home

Frequently asked questions

Students back to top

I'm new to the area and I've never lived away from home before. What type of accommodation do you recommend for me?

You can apply to live in the on-campus Student Residences as listed on the On Campus Accommodation website or you can live off-campus with other students, with people in the community offering accommodation to students or find somewhere to live independently.

For short-term and temporary accommodation needs, students can contact the Off Campus Acommodation by email offcampusaccommodation@newcastle.edu.au and they will forward you information about temporary accommodation close to the relevant campus.

Does the Off-Campus Accommodation Service check the property, the landlord and any people living at the property?

No. The Off-Campus Accommodation database is an information service only and whilst every effort is made to assist students to find suitable accommodation, any lease or other housing arrangement entered into are at the discretion of the student and the accommodation provider. It is vital that you inspect any property you are considering renting before you move in or sign any agreements.

How much should I pay for rent?

The amount you can afford will depend on the amount of income you have. Some students receive Austudy/Youth Allowance/ scholarships and some may also get assistance from their families and friends or have savings in the bank to fall back on. Others may derive income from part-time jobs. 

A general budgeting rule of thumb is that you spend no more than 30-50 % of your income on rent as you may find it too difficult to cover other living expenses. However, this is a guide only.

If I have problems with the landlord, real estate agent or other members of the household what can I do?

 

To minimise the risk of things going wrong, you should try to do as much research as possible about your rights and responsibilities before you sign lease agreements and related documents.  Students should familiarise themselves with information available from NSW Office of Fair Trading.

However, if you are having issues regarding tenancies or accommodation, we will be happy to refer you the appropriate organisations listed below.

Hunter Tenants Advice and Advocacy Service
5 William Street
PO Box 115
Hamilton NSW 2303
Phone: (02) 4969 7666 (Monday to Friday, 9.00am - 3.00pm)
Freecall: 1800 654 504
Website: http://www.tenants.org.au/publish/all_tenants/index.php

or

Central Coast Tenants Advice & Advocacy Service Inc
PO Box 293 Wyong 2259
Ph: (02)4353 5515
Fax: (02)4353 5525
Website: http://users.bigpond.net.au/cctaas

These organisations can help you with information about starting or ending a tenancy and your rights and obligations as a tenant. They can also assist tenants in matters relating to tenancies in NSW where there is an issue with the landlord about rents, bonds and tenants rights.

What is the usual length of stay in a place?

You should always be clear on whether the people in the house or flat are the owners or are renting as this can sometimes have an affect on the length of the lease or stay. You should also be aware that if you intend renting a vacant house or flat, the usual practice is to require you to sign a six or twelve month lease although you should negotiate a length that suits you. 

A lease is a legally binding document and the provisions of the Residential Tenancies Act will apply. As breaking a lease can be very costly, we recommend that you decide, before signing a lease, if you are confident of staying in the property for the duration of the lease.

Will I be able to connect to the internet?

Some residences may have internet ports for connecting to the internet and some may not have any access to the internet so it is important to ask the provider on what is provided. There are many alternatives available to both PC and Laptop users for broadband connections. Examples are listed below:

WIRELESS USB
* Connects to a USB port, so it's ideal for both laptops and desktops; * No need for a power point to use the USB

WIRELESS PC CARD/LAPTOP CARD
Connects to you laptop through a card port; * Select the card that fits your computer; * PC Card (PCMCIA) Card or Express Card/34 formats available
* No need for a power point to use the mobile card

WIRELESS LAPTOP CARD
Wireless Card allows you to take the internet with you, but without the need for anything more than a PCMCIA slot in your laptop.

Why are database listings still displayed when the accommodation providers tells me the vacancy has been rented?

Providers sometimes forget to let us know their vacancy is gone. Or maybe the property has just been rented, and they haven't had a chance to tell us.

If Students come across one of these listings, please let The Off-Campus Accommodation Office know, that way we can then contact the provider and remove the listing when it is no longer available. A brief email will save all students valuable time while searching the database, especially at the start of each semester.

How much notice do I have to give to move out? And how much notice does the landlord/owner have to give me to move out?

This issue should be made clear before you move in and can depend on the tenancy agreement.

Check this fact sheet out

Reason Action Minimum notice
Fixed term agreement
No reason at end of term Give notice 14 days 1
No reason during term See Factsheet 16: Ending tenancy early
Breach of agreement Give notice 14 days
Apply to the tribunal Not applicable
Premises unusable Give notice None
Rent increase2 Give notice 21 days
Extraordinary ground Give notice 14 days
Hardship Apply to tribunal Not applicable
Periodic agreement
No reason Give notice 21 days
Breach of agreement Give notice 14 days
Apply to the tribunal Not applicable
Premises unusable Give notice None

In an owner occupied situation both parties should discuss their expectations before the student moves in and put any agreement in writing. Two weeks is often agreed upon as the length of notice to vacate required by both parties.

Is it OK for people to advertise for female only, overseas student only and things like that?

In a vacant flat/house, student hostel, and hotels, the law prohibits people from rejecting your application on the grounds of your cultural background, gender or religion. In a share home situation the discrimination laws do not apply and the owner can specify female only, male only, international students only etc.

What about visitors and friends staying over?

Before you move in, some clear guidelines should be established about visitors. For example, is it OK to have friends over regularly for social or study groups? Can you have your boyfriend/girlfriend over? Can he/she stay over? If so, how many times per week is reasonable? You may be asked to contribute extra money for the cost of food and bills if you have friends stay over at your invitation.

Pets, smoking, and food and cooking arrangements

You may have difficulty finding accommodation if you have pets or you are a smoker. Most landlords of vacant flats and houses prohibit keeping pets. Often the people in a household will allow smoking but only if you go outside, but other people prefer non-smokers as flat mates.

As far as food and cooking applies, every student and household will have different procedures and types of food that are prepared. Newcastle is a cosmopolitan city and has food outlets that sell cooking ingredients originating from overseas countries. The Central Coast Region has similar outlets to cater for an expanding population. There is a wide range of cooking styles and this can cause conflict. Some cultures cook using lots of strong smelling herbs and spices and create a lot of steam. You should discuss any special dietary requirements and cooking arrangements with the owners or your fellow tenants before you move in.

How do I pay for telephone calls?

Many students now use their own mobile telephone (prepaid or contract), so there is less need of the landline telephone arrangements at many rental properties.

However, it is normal to pay for every telephone call you make and you should make arrangements to record your telephone calls to be paid for when the bill arrives. The major telephone companies have a range of services to help manage the telephone charges in a house with independent tenants.

If you are from a country or overseas location, you should respect the landlord or owner’s wishes and negotiate arrangements about the length of time you may spend on the telephone. Some landlords and owners prefer no interstate or international telephone calls to be made from their telephone and may have a lock or bar on long distance calls being made.

Providers back to top

I can't sign in, or I can't remember my password!

Please use the password assistance page to reset your password.

If you don't receive the email containing reset instructions, please send us an email at

OffCampusAccommodation@newcastle.edu.au  and we'll reset your password manually for you.

I can't edit the additional details on my listing.

We need to proofread the additional details you update to ensure that the information is correct and appropriate.

How do I list my property?

If you haven't listed a property with us before, you will need to register first. You can register a vacancy by selecting 'Add a listing' . Listing a property is free and takes only a few minutes.

You must include internal and external photos or the listing will be rejected. "Sell" the features of the property.

Include a comprehensive description of what is on offer. Features, inclusions, who else lives there, proximity to services. The more information the better for students and the fewer unnecessary questions you will have to field.

How do I help my listing stand out from the rest?

Newest listings that include all bills will feature at the top of the search results.

Students like to see photos of the property. Clear photos showing all aspects of the property inside and out are a must.

How long will my advertisement remain on the database?

Each advertisement will be live on the database for three (3) weeks. You will be sent an email advising you of the impending expiry date, and you will have the opportunity to extend this date.

When the room/property has been leased, please log onto the database and close the listing.

Why am I still receiving enquiries, when my property has been leased ?

You MUST close your listing when the property is no longer available. If you are unsure how to close the listing, please email OffCampusAccommodation@newcastle.edu.au or call +61 2 4921 6573