Frequently Asked Questions

Have some questions about what it’s like to live in Brisbane as a student? We have the answers.

What is a lease or a tenancy agreement?

It is a written contract between you (the tenant – person who is renting) and your landlord or property manager.

It must include:

  • the start date of your tenancy and usually the end date
  • details of how much rent to pay, when and how to pay it
  • any inclusions when renting the room or property
  • house rules if you are renting only a room

Don’t sign something you do not understand – these agreements are legally binding contracts. Ask the landlord or property manager questions if anything in the document is unclear or speak to support people at your educational institution.

What is a rental bond? How much does it cost?

A rental bond is like a security deposit you pay at the start of your tenancy.  It can be used by the landlord/manager to cover the cost of any damage to the property or other money you may owe them when you move out.

The law says that a bond can only be up to 4 times your weekly rent amount. For example, if your rent is $250 a week, your bond must not be more than $1000.

If you pay a bond to the landlord/property manager, they must lodge it (send it) to the Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA). The RTA will send you a receipt and will hold your bond safely until the end of your tenancy. You may also lodge your bond with the RTA yourself and provide evidence of this to your landlord/property manager.

What costs are involved in moving into a place?

Before you move in, you will probably be asked to pay:

  • Up to two weeks rent,
  • A rental bond – no more than 4 times your weekly rent

You may also need to pay and organise connection for electricity, gas and internet.  Ask your landlord or manager what is included in your rent and what is not. Make sure this is made clear in your tenancy agreement.

Will I miss out on accommodation in Brisbane if I don’t sign an agreement/lease before I arrive?

You may want to consider arriving and staying in a motel or short stay accommodation for a few days while you look around to secure your accommodation. It is best to view the property you intend to rent first before you sign anything.

What is the difference between a residential college and a large student accommodation facility (are these facilities connected to the university)?

A residential college is connected to the university and usually located on the university grounds. Additional services such as meals or cleaning may be included. Large off-campus student accommodation facilities are privately operated businesses and are not connected to the university. They may have extra costs involved for things like cleaning.

There are benefits and things to consider in both situations.  It is best for you to do some research to find out what facility best suits your needs and what costs are involved.

What if I sign a tenancy agreement/lease before I arrive and change my mind about living there once I arrive?

It is best to do your research first and understand the tenancy agreement terms before you sign.

If you have signed an agreement before you arrived but change your mind and don’t want to move in, speak with your landlord or manager first.  See if you can both agree to end the contract.  The landlord or manager has a right under the law to charge you some costs for breaking the tenancy agreement, but you may be able to negotiate with them depending on your situation. If you need assistance, you can speak with your university student support officer or contact the RTA on 1300 366 311 to talk about your rights and responsibilities.

What happens if I change my mind once I am living there and want to move out?

If you have signed an agreement and want to leave before the “end date” in the agreement, you may have to pay costs. In this situation the landlord or manager has a right under the law to ask you to compensate them for loss of rent until someone takes over your tenancy or room, and sometimes this may also include other charges such as advertising fees.  Speak with your landlord or manager to see what is involved.  Depending on your situation, there may be other options available.  Contact the RTA on 1300 366 311 to talk about your rights and responsibilities.

How do I know the accommodation provider will give me my rental bond back at the end?

If you do not owe any money and the room or property is returned in the same condition it was in at the start, less fair wear and tear, you have a right to receive your bond back in full.

Once you have moved out and returned your key you can apply to get your bond back directly from the RTA by lodging a ‘Refund of Rental Bond’ form (Form 4). This will be processed more quickly if both parties have agreed and signed the form. If your landlord or property manager is wanting to claim money and you do not agree, the RTA can assist you and your landlord or manager to resolve your disagreement through the RTA free dispute resolution service. Contact the RTA on 1300 366 311 for details about how they can help if this occurs.

Bonds are only refunded into Australian Bank accounts so make sure you contact the RTA if you are leaving the country to ensure your contact details and bank account details are up to date.

Who can help me if I have a renting problem with my landlord or property manager?

The Residential Tenancies Authority (RTA) oversees renting laws in Queensland and helps tenants, landlords and property managers to understand their rights and responsibilities. You can find more information on the RTA website rta.qld.gov.au or contact them directly on 1300 366 311 (Mon – Fri 8.30am – 5pm). Your university student support officer can also guide you and provide you with information.

Where can I purchase affordable furniture and essentials?

Furniture can be bought second-hand from websites such as Gumtree or eBay. Alternatively, if you like putting things together, Ikea sell affordable furniture.

For everyday essentials, Kmart sells just about everything you need – from towels to cutlery to linen. For toiletries, Chemist Warehouse offer cheap prices and great sales.

Do I need a car to get around in Brisbane?

Definitely not! Brisbane has a comprehensive public transport system with buses, trains and CityCats connecting visitors and locals to the city. Full-time students receive a concession on public transport fares. More information about the public transport system can be found at translink.com.au

Brisbane is also easy to navigate on foot, and CityCycles can be hired to ride along the riverwalks and bikeways throughout the city.

I don’t study all the time, what can I do in my spare time in Brisbane?

There is so much to do in Brisbane. We recommend checking out this ultimate Brisbane bucket list, or for the more budget-conscious try these 44 free things to do in Brisbane.

What’s the weather like in Brisbane?

Brisbane has more sunny days per year than any other Australian capital city. Temperatures remaining fairly stable across most seasons, and the sub-tropical climate makes it perfect for a range of outdoor activities.

Month/Season Average minimum temperature Average maximum temperature
Dec – Feb (Summer) 20°C 28°C
Mar – May (Autumn) 16°C 24°C
Jun – Aug (Winter) 10°C 21°C
Sep – Nov (Spring) 15°C 25°C