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Student Accommodation in Adelaide: Things to consider when looking for a place to live

Adelaide is a highly liveable city. A great climate, flat and easy to cycle or walk around, and very welcoming to students. There are a wide variety of accommodation options in Adelaide and what you choose depends on what you need. Here are things to consider when you look for a place to call home:


Adelaide is a budget-friendly place to live, but there are costs you’ll need to factor in. It’s cheaper than Sydney or Melbourne- 16% and 13% less, respectively. Private rental costs vary from $150 - $400 a week, with an average of around $220. Average weekly living expenses work out to be somewhere between $350 and $700, depending on the lifestyle you choose. This includes:

  • weekly groceries $90 - $135
  • electricity/ gas/ water $40 - $55
  • phone and internet $20 - $40

Public transport

There is a good bus and tram system in place in Adelaide. If you live away from your education provider, ensure that you’re close to a bus stop and on a direct route to the campus. The alternative is a bicycle, and with a flat city and temperate climate, it’s a great, cheap option. Transport costs $20 to $40 a week with student concession.


Consider how noisy the bedroom is, and if you can comfortably sleep with the traffic noise. Also consider heating and cooling options. If there’s a heatpump, that works as an air conditioning unit in summer and a heater in winter.

Paperwork and contracts

With university-managed accommodation, you will sign a contract that tells you, among other things, the expectations around behaviour, the length of your tenancy, how much rent you’re required to pay, and any clauses in regard to exiting the tenancy early. All relevant information will be in this contract.

If you have decided to rent an apartment, there is more paperwork. There are two options; you can rent a whole home or rent a room and share with others.

You can find rentals and flatmates on GumTree and Craigslist. You will need to submit a tenancy application with three months of bank statements, a written reference from a previous landlord, and identity documentation. You’ll be required to pay a bond to your local government body. This will be returned to you at the end of your tenancy if rent is fully paid and the home is in a good condition. Each state in Australia has slightly different laws, but in SA you can get advice from Tenants' Information and Advocacy Service and Community Mediation Services. Any disputes go through South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal. There is a lot of paperwork and evidence of address required may be difficult to furnish if you are a first-year student.

If you are being sub-let to and sharing a flat, you’ll still need to provide ID, references and a bond, but your name won’t be on the rental agreement.

Accommodation options

On-campus accommodation

There are many University managed student accommodation options. Depending on the arrangements, these may or may not have 24-hour support, cleaners, some (or all) of your meals catered for, and amenities on site. It’s easy, safe and simple. However, it usually is more expensive than other options. Contact your university to find out the options they provide.

This is an easier option, especially for first-year students. If more of your day-to-day chores are taken care of, you can focus on your studies and getting organised, rather than wasting time on cooking rosters and who didn’t wash their coffee cups.

Non-university run accommodation

These student accommodation options are purpose built, off-campus residences. All IDP-approved options are fully furnished and safe. These self-contained apartments allow you to choose your living configuration- by yourself, with others, or as a couple. These excellent facilities offer an easy option and a lot of freedom to enjoy the city.

IDP can help you choose between more than 100 properties throughout Australia, finding the best option for you. They have social events, communal study spaces, shared kitchens, gyms and so much to offer international students.


There are options where you can stay in a family home. You’ll sometimes have your own room, sometimes sharing with another student or a child in the house. Normally, you would be provided with three meals a day and only required to clean your room/ bathroom, but this depends on the house and your host parents. Your host family offers support, a resource for learning Aussie English, and a family around you.

Private rentals

Rental accommodation is possibly the most cost-effective option, but it can be difficult to arrange when you first arrive. You’ll probably need time to understand the city, the transport networks and how expenses work. Rentals usually require you to have your own furniture too. If you do want to ‘go flatting’, look on GumTree or on noticeboards around campus to find one suitable for you. You’ll also need to cook and clean for yourself, which some people may find challenging during a busy semester term.

As well as setting up a rent agreement, you’ll need to get the utilities connected, such as electricity and internet. A connection company will help you hook up to everything and with less paperwork and drama than if you were doing it directly with the provider.

Ask IDP for assistance

If you’re unsure what might be the best option for you, give us a call at 1800 664 700 or book an appointment to speak to a counsellor. We do more than just help find you accommodation—we can help you with your visa requirements, give you advice on your intended course of study and help you migrate and settle into life in Australia.

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