Step by Step: Private Student Accommodation & How To Apply

Student rooms, student living, private accommodation… where to start? We give you all the steps involved when applying for private student accommodation.

Headphones, tablet and textbook on bed

So, you’ve worked out the Australian city you want to study in and the university you want to study at. You’ve got your student visa application in. Now it’s time for the all-important and overwhelming task of accommodation!

There’s a lot of information out there to digest. So we’ve done all the research for you! This is our everything-you-possibly-need-to-know guide on applying for private student accommodation in Australia.

Benefits of Private and Co-Living Accommodation

But firstly, why private student accommodation? It has many benefits, especially designed for people like you, who come from overseas.

First of all, purpose-built student accommodation is designed specifically for students within great proximity to their chosen university. It provides the opportunity to live privately but in a community environment. So it’s an easy way to meet other students and make new friends.

It also gives you access to facilities such as gyms, study spaces, and cooking facilities. And even more! The Switch for example offers lots of different extra services. You also have the benefit of free wifi and free laundry use. Plus, the ever-smiling help of the resident’s staff. And all of this is included in the cost. Think of it as a hotel-style accommodation but with the social aspect of a hostel: Convenient, with plenty of inclusions, and just for students.

Here’s our carefully crafted list that’ll help you determine the right fit for you.

Community Space at The Switch in Perth, Image by MJA

How much does private student accommodation cost and what does it include?

For student apartments, you’re looking from anywhere between $300 – $600 a week. Of course, this is dependent on your location and the amenities of the housing you choose. You need to work out your budget and how much you are willing to spend per week.

The cost of living in Australia can be steep compared to what you’re used to in your home country, especially when staying in the city centre, near your university. And whilst living on campus may seem financially attractive, it has very limited availability.

Double Studio Room at The Switch in Perth

In purpose-built student housing, you have a choice between having a private room or shared apartments and you’ve also got access to plenty of amenities. There’s a reception, card access locks, security, outdoor areas, fully equipped gyms… you name it, the whole lot. Think modern, think practicality, think comfort. 

You get what you pay for. The prices are all inclusive, that means no worrying about extras like water bills, internet, or electricity. Even forking out for a gym membership! You’ve got it all in one, and it means that your cost of living shouldn’t change from month to month. If something’s broken or there’s an issue, there is staff in your building that will sort it out for you. No extra stresses of needing to call maintenance. The rental agreements couldn’t get any clearer.

Double Studio Room at The Switch in Perth

Where should you live?

This one’s a bit of a no brainer, location is key. Don’t go for the cheapest accommodation or the one with the best facilities if it means you have to travel far on public transport.

The whole point of private student accommodation is that it is easily accessible. It should only be a short distance from your uni and within close proximity to public transport. Think about it, you’re in a new city and you don’t know your surroundings. It is safer to be in the centre and it will also save time and work out to be cheaper. Who wants to be spending $10 for the peak-hour train every day to make it to a 9am lecture?

it’s a simple process, search your university on sites like Unilodger’s and it’ll bring up the options you have. Here you can see how close each accommodation building is. Make a favourites list of the ones you like! On some sites, you can instantly apply and secure your room without paying straight away. After your application has been accepted you will receive confirmation, a lease agreement, and the payment details. The deposit varies from accommodation to accommodation. You will be expected to pay a bond, and in some cases even up to four weeks’ rent prior.

Friends cheers with drinks

What extra activities and features are there?

Private Student Accommodation can offer lots of activities and extra facilities to a point where it’s basically luxury living. All of them have social spaces such as game rooms and communal study areas. Most places have regular events, to encourage students to explore their city and meet new people. Some residencies have pool tables, bbq areas, and even outdoor balcony terraces… It’s fun, simply put. There are rules of course, like every place that you can rent but the atmosphere is inviting and the vibe is on trend.

We understand there’s so much more to the student experience than just the final score. There are lots of services that will provide support on how to make the most out of it. Whether that be through how to care for your wellbeing, volunteering, university societies, work experience, and what to explore on the weekends. It’s all about providing an experience that is perfectly catered to you outside of just where you sleep.

Applying for Private Student Accommodation

Third-party sites

Using sites such as or Unilodgers will enable you to compare each accommodation provider on price, location, room type and proximity to your specific uni. This is a great way to see where you can live, and which features appeal to you.


If you have located an accommodation building or provider you love and feel is well aligned to your university journey, it’s always best to book directly from their website. Here, they can often give you the best deals, most up to date information and possibly even ensure your requests are taken into account before others who might book through third-party sites or agents.

Through an Agent

It is common practice in countries like China to use an agent for the process of securing your Student Accommodation for your time at university. 

You may get in contact with an International Exchange agent through a program at your high school, on the internet, at international education or exchange fairs or through recommendations from a friend or family member. Your agent will help you with the entire process, including booking your accommodation and sometimes helping with your visa. They will be able to give you trustworthy advice on location, expected costs and the best options for your personal situation. 

The most important thing is to choose a student accommodation that aligns with your core values and concerns as well as needs and interests. Need any more help deciding on where to live whilst studying in Australia? Contact us today!