- Download our Moving to Melbourne Guide (PDF)
Accommodation in Melbourne varies in size and quality, with something to suit every taste and budget. Competition for accommodation is fierce and the market moves at a rapid pace, so expats will need to act quickly if they find something they like.
Most foreigners moving to the metropolis opt to rent accommodation – a practical decision due to the high costs attached to buying property in Australia. Melbourne tends to have more affordable rental properties than other state capitals in Australia, such as Sydney and Canberra.
Though rental prices vary greatly, expats can inevitably expect a hefty price tag on high-rise apartments in the city centre or properties in sought-after beachside suburbs.
Types of accommodation in Melbourne
Many expats who move to Melbourne live in apartments (also called ‘flats’), since these are the most common rentals. Upmarket flats in the city centre tend to be more expensive than flats in outlying areas.
Houses are more suitable for families, but these tend to be located in the suburbs. Rental houses in Melbourne are often built in an older style and are less equipped for extreme temperatures. More modern accommodation may have air-conditioning units.
Before choosing accommodation, expats will need to select a suburb to live in. There are plenty of appealing areas in Melbourne, and before deciding, logistical aspects, such as proximity to Melbourne’s city centre, public transportation and the accessibility of services and amenities, should be considered.
Finding accommodation in Melbourne
There are a number of ways to search for accommodation in Melbourne, and most properties are managed by real-estate agents. There are many advantages to working directly with estate agents, as they have good knowledge of the city and often have access to properties before they are publicly advertised.
For those who decide to go it alone, local newspapers are a good source as are real-estate websites and online property portals. Word of mouth and connecting with other expats can also be a good way to find leads that are off the beaten track.
Bear in mind that rental advertisements often list a weekly rather than monthly price, so be sure to double-check the period that the cost of rent is quoted for before celebrating a good deal.
Renting accommodation in Melbourne
Making an application
To rent accommodation, applicants will need to provide references as well as numerous documents proving their identity. This is done according to a national standard known as the 100-point check, where various types of ID documents are each assigned a particular amount of points based on importance. Applicants must submit documents with a total value of at least 100 points to be considered.
Leases and deposits
Leases for rental properties in Melbourne are usually for one year and require a month’s rent as a deposit. The deposit is refundable and is usually returned at the end of the tenancy, provided no damage was done to the property. Otherwise, cleaning or repair costs will be taken out of the deposit before the balance is refunded.
Rent for accommodation in Melbourne is typically payable at the end of each month, or in some cases fortnightly, either to the estate agent or the landlord.
Utility bills are usually not included in the rental price and are the responsibility of the tenant. When searching for accommodation, expats should be sure to consider the added cost of utilities in Melbourne.
Australian housing, including that in Victoria, is generally quite energy inefficient, and bills for electricity, gas and water can accumulate quickly.
►Unsure about where to live in the city? See Areas and Suburbs in Melbourne for some guidance
►Read about working in Melbourne
"There are tons of great options, both for singles and families. There are also lots of great inner city apartments, which I’d jump at if I were single or had no kids." Read more about what Scottish expat Marvin has to say about life in Melbourne.
Are you an expat living in Melbourne?
Expat Arrivals is looking for locals to contribute to this guide, and answer forum questions from others planning their move to Melbourne. Please contact us if you'd like to contribute.
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