No Place Like Home: Addressing Exploitation of International Students in Sydney's Housing Market
UNSW Human Rights Clinic I July 2019
66 Pages Posted: 3 Apr 2020
Date Written: July 9, 2019
In 2018, there were a record 548,000 international students at universities, vocational colleges, English colleges and schools in Australia -- nearly double the number in 2013. Sydney (and other major Australian cities) has very limited dedicated student accommodation on campus or within commercial properties. Cost and other barriers render the formal rental market inaccessible to most international students. As a result, most live in share houses, boarding houses and other insecure arrangements in the marginal rental sector, which they find online. They are highly vulnerable to deceptive and exploitative conduct both when finding a place to live, and as tenants. Many experience conditions that seriously undermine their physical, emotional and financial wellbeing, and in many cases, their basic human right to adequate housing.
Authored by the UNSW Human Rights Clinic, this report provides an overview of the housing problems that international students encounter in Sydney, including issues with rental bonds, deceptive conduct, lack of tenancy rights, unfair evictions, poor living conditions, harassment, and discrimination. It considers the factors that prevent international students from securing adequate housing or leaving inadequate housing, and the impact of insecure housing on international students’ academic performance and wellbeing. The report makes a series of recommendations to local, state and federal governments as well as to universities and other international education providers. These include increasing access to adequate affordable housing, improving international students’ access to information and tenancy services, holding landlords to account, and strengthening international students’ legal rights as tenants and their access to justice.
Keywords: international students, international education, right to adequate housing, human rights, access to justice, affordable housing, exploitation, rental market
JEL Classification: K11, R31
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation