Tenants Union of VictoriaDavid Imber is a Policy and Liaison Worker at the Tenants Union of Victoria
What's been your experience of schoolies?
Schoolies is a celebration of the end of school - after that many years studying, it's a pretty good reason to celebrate.
Unfortunately, the media enjoy picking on young people and the poor behaviour of some schoolies and toolies has led to some negative coverage. That's what a lot of people think of when they think of schoolies, which is a shame.
Did you go to schoolies when you left school?
Schoolies wasn't really very organised and there wasn't much information about it when I left school, so people just did their own thing. I travelled with a good mate of mine and we had a really great time. Many of my friends went down the coast and enjoyed themselves too so I guess we all did exactly what most people do these days.
What's your advice for schoolies looking for rental accommodation?
The best piece of advice is probably the last thing you want to hear - do your homework! The more you check things out in advance and compare what's being offered the less likely you are to be ripped off. If you're in doubt - don't sign.
It's also really important to make sure you're comfortable with the people you're going with and that you all agree on what's affordable and what's going to meet your needs. When you sign a lease or rental agreement you're agreeing to be responsible to the landlord or provider for any damage that happens - even if it's someone else that's done the deed.
Discussing in advance who you'll share with and what to do if people gate-crash is also important as this will save you feeling pressured to let just anyone turn up and ruin your holiday.
What's your advice for schoolies looking for hotel accommodation?
Be realistic about what you want and look for somewhere that's going to meet your needs. If you don't need to be in the centre of town you might find somewhere cheaper and be able to make a bit more noise a couple of kilometres away.
If you're looking to party in town then you don't want to be miles out and have to worry about how you'll get home.
Check the fine print both when you book and when you arrive because the extra charges at hotels might blow your budget - especially if you don't realise that minibars aren't free and are always over-priced!
What are schoolies' rights concerning accommodation?
Everybody who rents or purchases a service has rights but there are different rules in different states regarding different types of accommodation. The main thing to be aware of is that you have to be given what you've paid for and you can't be ripped off or denied accommodation because you're a schoolie.
If you keep your receipts and records then you've got a better chance of getting your money back if anything goes wrong. This website has some good case studies that should help you out here with some real-life examples.
What are schoolies' responsibilities concerning accommodation?
Your main goal should be to have fun, but there is a serious side to renting. The basic rule is to leave the place as you found it (although with longer leases it's understood that there might be some reasonable wear and tear).
You should also abide by the house rules provided they are not unreasonable. No one can stop you having a good time but there may be limits on the use of facilities at night and that sort of thing.
What should schoolies do if they feel they've been treated unfairly by accommodation providers?
If you're unhappy or feel you have been treated unfairly, then let the provider know and try to resolve it with them. If you are unable to get the outcome you're after, and then seek help from a community legal centre or relevant Government agency.
If you feel you've been discriminated against, contact the Equal Opportunity Commission (new window).
For other complaints you can contact Consumer Affairs Victoria (new window). For residential tenancies (when you're renting a flat, house, caravan or room for over 60 days or that's your main home) you can contact the Tenants Union of Victoria (new window) on 9416 2577, or Consumer Affairs Victoria, but that might be more relevant for after schoolies when you're looking to move out of home!