Housing within reach of MelbourneEdit
Before any suburb reviews start to make sense, look them up: Google Maps Melbourne
Travelling from the suburban periphery can be trying. Melbourne's freeway system is effectively at full capacity in rush hour. Expect a minimum 60 minute trip to the CBD from anywhere affordable (places like Mornington require even more time)
The transport system is likewise overcrowded but new settlers settling on the outskirts are at least likely to get a seat. Probably no worse than a typical Tube journey however.
Here's the local broadsheet (the Age) discussing the woes of our transport system:
Note however that the picture shows a superb, late model Siemens low floor tram and the passengers are travelling through (not around) one of the best downtown shopping districts anywhere.
A good locally maintained web page discussing Melbourne public transport is: http://www.custard.net.au/melbtrans/
The reality of Melbourne real estate prices is that "affordable" real estate is on the periphery, and a long way even from a train station and those sorts of areas are served by transports' poor cousin in Melbourne, the bus. The buses are poorly coordinated with the train stations they allegedly serve but parking at most stations is poor. To get some idea of what time you might need to get to your great new Collins Street job use this travel planner:
Renting a house in VictoriaEdit
A popular site for property is Domain.com.
In suburban areas it's more likely that properties will be unfurnished.
Real Estate Agents are governed by REIV.
Deposits (Bonds) are usually paid to the letting agent up-front for a month, and are held in by the REIV (not usually the landlord/agent). When you leave the place, the agent will inspect the place and then approve the return of your bond. Before the property is inspected make sure that all of the carpets have been steam cleaned. If you think the carpets DO NOT require steam cleaning when you receive your bond back you will see an amount has been deducted for steam cleaning. Your real estate agent will recommend 'reliable' organisations.
Renting with petsEdit
Breaking a rental agreementEdit
If you need to break your tenancy agreement the Tenants Union of Victoria advises that you should give as much notice as possible in writing, and only pay rent up until the day you vacate. Remember to keep evidence in preparation for a VCAT tribunal, such as a copy of your notice letter, when the property was re-advertised and at what price.
The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 states that if you break a tenancy agreement you may be liable for costs including a re-letting fee, advertising costs in addition to rent until new tenants are found, or until the end of the fixed term, whichever is sooner. However you only pay the re-letting fee on a pro-rata basis, which means you only cover the fee for the remaining term of the lease. For example if you leave 9 months into a 12 month tenancy agreement, there is only 25% of the fixed term remaining so you only pay about 25% of the fees.
With regard to the rent, the landlord has a duty to keep their loses to a minimum, so if they do anything to make it harder to find a new tenant (such as increase the rent), or if they don’t make an effort to find a new tenant, you can argue that you should not have to pay. If you think the costs claimed by the landlord are unreasonable, don’t agree to pay. The landlord will then have to apply to the VCAT tribunal for compensation where you will have the chance to put your case forward.
If you have signed a rental lease agreement that makes heavier demands than allowed for under The Residential Tenancies Act 1997 the lease is quite likely to be invalid (despite what the landlord tells you) – seek advice from the Tenants Union.
This information and much more is available as fact sheets from the Tenants Union of Victoria at www.tuv.org.au or phone their advice line on (03) 9416 2477. They have an office at 55 Johnston Street, FITZROY in Melbourne.
VCAT also has lots of useful information on their site about tribunals, go to www.vcat.vic.gov.au, and click on Residential Tenancies.
Rent in ArrearsEdit
If you cannot keep up your rent payments you are considered to be in 'rent arrears'. If you find yourself in this situation you should inform your landlord or real estate agent about your difficulty and try to negotiate a repayment plan. For further information visit the Rent in Arrears page of the MoneyHelp website which is a joint intiative of the Consumer Action Law Centre and the Victorian Government.
Buying a house in VictoriaEdit
First Home Owner GrantEdit
If you and your spouse/partner have not received a grant, or owned residential property in any State or Territory of Australia you could be eligible to receive the First Home Owner Grant of up to $7000. You (or at least one applicant) must however be a permanent resident or Australian citizen at the time of settlement or completion of construction of the home. For more information go to this section of the Victorian Government's website First Home Owner Grant
First Home BonusEdit
First home buyers who qualify for the First Home Owner Grant may also be eligible for an additional payment known as the First Home Bonus of $3,000 or $5,000. To receive the bonus, the value of the property must not exceed $500,000. $3,000 is given for established homes and $5,000 for new homes. A new home is classified as either built under a home building contract, built by an owner builder, purchased off the plan, or sold for the first time as a residential premises. For more information go to this section Victorian Governments website First Home Bonus
The officials who approve investments in Australia by foreigners. For you to get a permission, you need to have a visa for at least the next 12 months, from applying for the permission.
Want to buy a house? Got only a temporary visa? You need a permission from FIRB.
Got a Permanent residence visa? No need to worry about the FIRB.
When your visa ends, you need to sell your house before you leave. Only ways to keep the house are either to buy it new, or to build it on vacant land. If buying vacant land or a brand new house, no visa based limitations apply, not even to students. There is a catch, with vacant land, you need to begin to build the house within 12 months of buying the land, and it has to cost at least 50% of the land value.
Students have an automatic 300,000 AUD limit on the house they can buy, However this limit can be increased by FIRB if you can prove your housing needs are greater, eg you have brought your family with you while you study, also the house needs to be close to the school / campus.
Property Investment Advice Edit
Selling a house in VictoriaEdit