Serious problems that international students face

Sydney's students, especially in international students, are in the middle of problems about their accommodation.

A survey of 100 international students, who study courses of Academic English Pathway at UTS: Insearch, states Sydney CBD and around suburbs, such as Ultimo, Waterloo, and Pyrmont, have 39% students. Moreover, 84% students of them live in a kind of share house, and over 50% of their share houses have over four people.

"There are eleven people in my three-bed roomed house. My house is just like a backpacker, it is not private space," one of these students said.

He usually study in the library of UTS but cannot study in his room with two room-mates. "Even though I am at home, I do not go to bed before midnight because I cannot get to sleep," he also said. This describes why he meets friends of him after 10 pm. However, he does not want to live in outside of the city. "City has everything in my Australian life, such as my school, friends, etc. I am enjoying city life except my house."

The survey also states that students, who live in Sydney CBD and around suburbs, pay a higher cost than others, who live in outside of the city. For example, by 120 dollars, could be able to get an over three people room in the city, however, in outside of city, can live in a two people room. Thus, city's students find low cost houses to save money, which is reason why too many people live in a house.

According to an interview with a one of the city's apartment renters, who has contracted by a real estate directly, most city apartments, especially in share houses, have more than four people, and those are often used to earn money. "I agree that a cost of share house in the city is more expensive than outside of the city's, but nobody cares. Every student wants to live in the city, so this cost is made by them. It might seem a relationship between supply and demand," the renter said.

How do eleven people live in a three-bed roomed house? The answer is "3-2-2-2-2"; 3 is in a master room, 2 and 2 are in each second room, 2 is in the living room, and 2 is on the sunlounge.

"We have got documents, called Residential Tenancy Agreement," a manager of one of real estates in the city said.

"A renter has to agree how many people can live in there, and if a renter breaks any of the terms of the agreement, a contract will be ended by a landlord."

Through the Agreement (1997 edition, page 7), "A fixed term agreement may be ended for the following reasons, provided that a least 14 days' notice is given," this means that a renter, who broken a contract, must leave a house 14 days later. "But it hardly happens," a manager said.

Does it make sense? "We have already known that problem, but from the Agreement, we have no more than four inspections are allowed in any period of 12 months," a manager continued. Inspections are to check whether agreement is doing well or not, but these are not surprise inspections. "To inspect the premises, if the tenant gets 7 days' notice" (the Agreement, page 7). "Actually, we cannot count how many people live in there when we have an inspection. We just suppose it from furniture, such as beds, desks, and clothes chests, but it is also difficult to guess because some of tenants have often moved furniture before inspection. If we have no evidence, a contract is continued."

One of the major problems from this situation is no guarantee of safety. "City of Sydney Council inspects all buildings, include shops, apartments, and houses, about fire safety," a building surveyor of Sydney Council said. Council's inspections focus on every kind of a fire-fighting equipment, a line, an apparatus, and an alarm. "We also inspect inside of houses but we do not count how many people live in there. However, if we judge that some situations, for example, a lot of electric equipments are plugged in a one socket, could be able to cause a fire, we impose a penalty on a building owner," he said.

"A lot of friends of mine want to stay in the city. And I will also never move out of the city. We are here to study, and we are here to enjoy. I do not want to give up both, even my safety and private life do not be guaranteed," the student said, and then he goes to the library.

Accommodation problems for students are not short term. Everybody knows that but nobody tries to make countermeasures, include schools. Educational work is one of most important businesses to Australia. To continue this work, effective plans may be drawn up.

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