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Sharehouses have become quite popular in Japan, although there still aren’t many privately owned properties in the mix. In Australia many properties are sublets, meaning people renting a 2 or 3 bedroom house rent out unused rooms to other people. For this reason you often find cheap houses that aren’t properly controlled, or places where sharemates are sharing the same key. In this article I will show you how to figure out the best house for you while touching on areas of which you should be careful.

How do I look for a sharehouse?

Check the internet
In Australia there are quite a few websites on which you can search for sharehouses in English or even Japanese. Gumtree is said to be the best website for this, however recently Flatmates has been a firm favourite. As these are English websites, exchanges between the property owner will be in English. People who do not feel confident in using English should check out this article →<Link>How to find a sharehouse in Sydney:【Useful Words and Phrases】
We showcase a number of properties on our website. The greatest advantage to using the site is that our staff inspect the properties ourselves. Have a look at this site, too, as we post safe and sound sharehouses.

Things to make note of during inspection

As well as the overall atmosphere, it’s important to check out a few other things when inspecting a room for rent.

①How many sharemates are there?
This is the most important point. Be wary of houses awkward or uncomfortable living arrangements. Kitchen and bathroom cleanliness is of course also important, however take note of how many people you would have to share with. According to NSW regulations up to 5 people may share 1 bathroom, however there are properties that do not abide by these rules. I have personally shared a bathroom with 6 other people myself, and even though we scheduled our shower times it was difficult to control the toilet of a morning. Always make sure you check the number of toilets in a sharehouse.

Student living showerroom 17habour_2stay

②Will you get your own house key?
However obvious it may seem, always check to see if you will get your own house key. There are many cases of key sharing among large numbers of people, and you might not be able to get inside when you return of a night without someone having to let you in. If you live in a secured apartment, you might get a house key but not a key that lets you into the building as these keys cannot be copied. Your sharehouse will be your home, and being aware of this point will ensure you will not stress over such a small thing.

key

③What is the minimum length of stay?
A 3 month contract is generally the norm. Some people, such as the Japanese, may prefer an initial 1-month contract with the option to extend, however because this is hard on the owners having to find new tenants, it is necessary to check everything thoroughly before deciding to sign the contract. It is important to do so because the bond you pay will not be returned if you break a contract longer than 3 months.

④Is there a washing machine?
This is also something you may take for granted, but not all sharehouses have washing machines. Some buildings may not have washing machines inside the apartments, and you may have to use a communal coin laundry shared with others in the building. Other houses may have washing machines but are coin-operated, so make sure to check the laundry situation out before signing the lease. Australia has a shortage of water and with the water service being expensive, house rules usually dictate that washing must be done once a week. Please understand that circumstances may be different in Australia than your own country.

beaccommodation laundry

⑤Are the house rules suited to you?
Each house has its own rules. There are houses where inviting friends over is prohibited for security reasons, or where parties are only okay until 10pm. On the hand, there are also houses where friends of residents can come and go as they please, resulting in a ‘party house’, so you could say that having some house rules makes everything run smoothly. Be proactive in keeping the house clean as doing so is the responsibility of everyone in the house.

⑥Avoid night inspections as much as possible
Avoid walking around unfamiliar areas at night. I have lived here for 8 years and even I avoid going to new places by myself at night. Should the owner of a property only be available to open the place for inspection at night because of work commitments, ask a friend to accompany you. One must protect themselves overseas.

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⑦It’s never too late to decide on a house
Some people might be anxious to find a place to live in as soon as possible, however over here it’s not unheard of to find a place 1 week in advance because a statement of departure is able to be lodged from 2 weeks to 1 month beforehand. It’s actually uncommon to begin looking for a house 3 months in advance, and starting too soon is actually more difficult as the owner often doesn’t know about residents leaving until one 1 month beforehand.

Things to make note of when signing contracts

①There might not necessarily be a contract
There are cases in which privately owned properties do not have contracts. This means that you might not receive a formal receipt, however if you are paying a large sum of money like the bond make sure you get one.

②Bond is usually 2-3 weeks rent
2 weeks rent is generally the norm, however you might be asked for 4 weeks rent depending on the property. As Australian regulation state that up to 4 weeks rent may be asked for in bond, be wary of places that ask for more.

Summary

Supertop outside

The thing you notice about living abroad is that while the norm in Japan is to tear down old houses and build new, overseas there is a culture to protect old homes and there are many properties that seem old in appearance. The important thing is not if a house is new or old, but if it has basic things like personal keys or if there are enough bathrooms. What will determine if you can live somewhere for a long time is whether or not the house is comfortable, if you can relax there and if sharemates can respect each others privacy. Make sure to check all of these points when looking for a place to live. Another thing to think about is if you get along with the owner of the property! I’m always here if you want to talk about Sydney or Australia. →Sharehouse Australia

/Author:Kaori

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