Renting an Apartment in Melbourne on a Working Holiday Visa (WHV)

If you’re a couple or a group of friends arriving into Australia soon on your working holiday visa, then this post may be able to help you out with all the ins and outs with renting for the first time in Australia.

When we first arrived in Australia we moved into an Airbnb for a month with some friends, luckily I’d spent quite a lot of time researching the best places to stay before booking so we ended up staying in the lovely South Yarra area – I’d definitely recommend this area to anyone knew, although it can be a little bit more expensive its great for public transport, walking, shops and just generally getting used to moving to Melbourne.

So, if you’ve been in Melbourne or any other part of Australia for a few weeks and you’re looking to rent let me explain a few things which might help you!

Where to start?

Start out by checking all the usual renting websites, e.g domain.com.au, if you just google ‘rent in Australia’, you should get a few decent rental search engines. Gumtree is also a great place to check, you’ll usually find lease takeovers here, but this can sometimes work better for those of you which only want to stay in Melbourne for a few months.

What budget should I set?

That’s quite a tough one to answer, it depends on how long you’d like to rent for and where you would like to live. You’ll probably be looking at paying anywhere from $400-500 per week. For example in the CBD, around South Yarra or just a couple km out of the CBD $400-500 would be about right a week. This is why I suggesting renting with someone you could share a room with as it will make it a lot cheaper for you both.

Furnished or Un-Furnished?

Furnished is great for those of us who are only looking for a short-term¬†rental (six months), the furnished market is definitely a lot more competitive and properties tend to be taken off the rental market within a few hours/days of them being listed so you’ll have to be fast moving. Also, be prepared for the furnished apartments to not be ‘fully furnished’, for example, my place came with a bed and mattress, sofa, washing machine, fridge freezer and a table and chairs – but no TV, plates, cups etc.

You’ll definitely¬†find it easier to rent an unfurnished property, and you’ll definitely be able to get a place around $350-450 per week. If you can rent unfurnished do so as you’ll find it a lot easier to secure a place. Then just keep checking Gumtree, Facebook Local Adds and do a trip to Ikea – with all these things you’d be able to furnish a place quite cheaply.

Can I rent short-term?

We are currently renting a place for six months, and this was the smallest contract we could get. You’ll usually find it very tough to get a place on a six-month rental yet alone 4 months. If you’d like to rent for less than six months then check out Gumtree and Facebook for lease takeovers. Or read my previous post on finding accommodation in Melbourne, something on there may be more suited for you – read it here.

What will make securing a place easier?

Things that you can do to make you more likely to get accepted for a place:

  1. Make sure you are employed and can prove so with a job acceptance letter or bank statements.
  2. Renting as a couple, or with another friend you trust will make you more likely to get accepted as there’s two of you to bring in an income.
  3. Bid more per week on the properties, for example our place was listed at $450 per week, but we offered to pay $470 per week – this made our case look stronger over others, and since we’d only be renting for six months it also covered any cost the landlord would have to pay to relist the apartment after our six months is up.
  4. Turn up to rental viewings looking smart and tidy! You want to impress the rental agent, be smiley and appear clean and tidy – this will make you look more trustworthy.
  5. Ask the right questions, you want the rental agent to remember you.
  6. Submit a great application, asap.

What should I include in my application?

Anything which could make your case stronger, you want to give the rental agent everything they need, and make it easy for them. For example, we supplied (mostly scanned in): Drivers Licence, Passports, Visa Proof, Marriage Certificate, proof of work, proof of savings, bank statements, medicare proof, and written recommendations.

Its very tough to rent in Melbourne, and I’ve heard even harder in Sydney so you want to make your application stand out. Start applying as soon as possible as you’ll probably be turned down quite often if you’re looking to rent for six months and under. If you need any more help, please feel free to email us.