Accommodation is a primary concern for international students around the world. The issue is especially more significant for international students in Sydney. The recent report and surveys highlight the exploitation of international students in Sydney, one of the most attractive educational destinations for global students.
The new report from UNSW (University of New South Wales) has stated that a significant portion of international students studying in Sydney does not receive satisfying, secure, and affordable residence. The rental markets are actively involved in exploiting these students on monetary and racial aspects.
Bassina Farbenblum, director of Human Rights Clinic UNSW, said that the high prices of rental services and limited options available have forced students into a corner. She added that the students are unaware of their legal rights, and landlords and property owners take advantage of this fact to dominate with unlawful activities.
Students face exploitations in the form of a sudden increase in rent, increased charges for meagre activities, and non-payment of rental bonds. Some landlords deny residence or mistreat the students belonging to a specific ethnicity or country. All these acts fall under illegal actions, according to Sydney’s accommodation laws.
A part of the study by Kingsford Legal Centre shows that around 40% of students seek help against landlords for exploitative activities. 25% of the students reach out authorities for cases regarding problems in recovering rental bonds.
Ruturaj Khenat was one of the victims of landlord exploitation. He came to the city in 2016 from Mumbai for studying engineering. Halfway through his accommodation lease, his landlord reached him to inform that rent will be increased from $300 to $410 per week.
Ruturaj says he was perturbed about the situation as finding a new accommodation in Sydney in the middle of his course was difficult. Ruturaj reached out to his university’s legal office for help. The university sent a letter to his landlord that made him back out and kept the rent unchanged.
Ruturaj said that he was aware of his legal rights, but many students are not. Many students on his floor received the notice from the landlord, and some of them complied while others moved out. Ruturaj added that overseas students do not want troubles in a foreign country; that is why they don’t take serious action.
The study also presents the exploitation of students by companies that provide a guarantee of accommodation to students on arrival. Students often pay a large sum of money to these companies just to find out that their accommodation is not yet ready when they come. Even when a place to live is provided, it turns out to be different than described.
According to the report, these exploitations can affect mental health and study quality of students. The report listed 12 solutions, including an increase in on-campus residents and a reduction in prices.
Some other recommendations are building an affordable residence for students around the city and reducing public transport cost. Inexpensive transport will allow students to live at a distance from the university where the accommodation options are cheaper and in abundance.