Note: This policy is subject to change at any time. Please check all AHN Policies on a regular basis for updates.
Congratulations on choosing to participate in a Homestay organised by the Australian Homestay Network (AHN). This Homestay Policy sets out the guidelines and expectations for behaviour that apply to Guests and Hosts participating in a Homestay, and it should be read together with the AHN Host Agreement and AHN Guest Agreement, as applicable.
All capitalised terms have the same meaning as defined in the Agreements, and the terms of the Agreements will apply to the extent of any inconsistency with this Policy.
Please read through this Policy carefully and contact us at email@example.com if you have any questions.
- AHN will take reasonable steps to assist Hosts and Guests in the event of an emergency or other issue and will answer any questions you have about AHN’s Services. Guests and Hosts have access to 24/7 support through AHN’s after hours’ emergency line – 1300 MYSTAY (1300 697 829).
- In keeping with the provisions of the Agreements, AHN is committed to creating positive outcomes for all Homestay participants and may act to remove a Guest from a Homestay or take any other action it deems to be in the best interests of the Guest, Host or AHN at any time. AHN will make every attempt to assist if emergency accommodation is required. Where the Guest is Under 18, AHN will engage with the Education Provider to reach a suitable outcome.
- For more information about AHN Services (including payment or insurance) please see your Guest or Host Agreement (as applicable), visit our website or contact us. For more information on AHN’s Refund Policy, please visit https://au.homestaynetwork.org/policies/ahnref01.
Both Hosts and Guests must:
- Treat each other and every other person in the Home in a fair, respectful and polite manner. This means being considerate of other peoples’ feelings and needs and includes things like not touching any person or their personal property without their permission, keeping your environment clean and tidy and saying thank you to someone who does something for you.
- Understand that your customs or beliefs may be different to those of your Host or Guest. Have an open mind. One of the most important benefits of a Homestay is ‘cultural exchange’ – the chance to learn about someone else’s experiences and values. All participants need to be treated with respect, including when carrying out reasonable cultural or religious practices in the Home. Discrimination of any kind is not acceptable.
- Work together to make the Homestay a success. It is very important that both Guests and Hosts make an effort to communicate clearly and effectively about important matters and cooperate to resolve any misunderstandings or issues that might arise. It takes contribution from both sides to create a comfortable and enjoyable environment within the Home. Make sure that you provide your Guest or Host with current contact details and any other important information about you they should know, and be careful not to share any information you receive with anyone else without the Guest’s or Hosts’ permission.
- Understand and abide by the applicable local laws. Hosts and students should be familiar with local laws and abide by them (for example driving laws, consumption of alcohol and use of illicit drugs). Hosts should discourage any activities which are not in the best interests of the student’s wellbeing or may be in breach of the law.
As an AHN Homestay Guest you must:
- Cover certain costs. You should ask your Hosts’ permission before using their telephone or internet services. You will be expected to cover your own travel, entertainment and medical expenses as well as any other personal costs that come up during your Homestay. If you cause any damage to the Home, you will be expected to pay for repairs.
- Comply with any reasonable ‘house rules’ the Host gives you. These may include:
(a) keeping your room tidy;
(b) assisting with minor chores;
(c) using resources such as water and electricity responsibly;
(d) keeping noise to a minimum;
(e) attending meal times promptly; and
(f) being polite and considerate at all times.
- Pay your Homestay Fees by the due date. AHN will send you an invoice at regular intervals to continue in homestay. It is important that your fees are kept up to date and paid by the due date so that there are no delays with paying your Host. Fees are reviewed annually and published on the AHN website. Guests who are in a current placement will be notified of fee increases applicable to them.
- Be sensible and safe. This means immediately contacting AHN or your Host if you have concerns regarding your health or welfare. You must disclose any illnesses you suffer from before arriving in Australia (if applicable). Ensure you are up to date with the recommended vaccinations. Store valuables such as money, your passport, airline tickets and other important items in a safe place. Always ask your Host’s permission before inviting any other person to the Host’s Home for any period of time.
(a) If you are over the age of 18 you must ask your Host before bringing alcohol into the Home or smoking when you’re near the Home. Smoking is never allowed inside the Home.
(b) If you are an International Student under the age of 18 you must:
4.b.1. return to the Home by the curfew set by your Education Provider and notified to you by AHN or your Host. Written notification from your Education Provider must be provided to AHN if you have been granted special permission to be late or sleep overnight somewhere else.
4.b.2. not smoke or consume any alcohol or illicit substance at any time or place during your Homestay.
4.b.3. travel to homestay by airport pick up (APU) where the Education Provider deems it mandatory. The cost will be included on your first invoice and APU booking details will be provided on your placement report. If you wish to travel with a relative or an adult this must be approved by your Education Provider prior to travel.
- Stay in contact. Log in to your AHN user profile to check any alerts and answer any messages as soon as possible. AHN reserves the right to remove any defamatory or personal information you post in relation to the Homestay. You must also communicate daily with your Host about your activities and notify your Host if you will be away from the Home during a mealtime or overnight. Contact AHN immediately if you feel uncomfortable or unsafe in your homestay environment.
(a) If you are under the age of 18 you must carry a mobile phone and make your Host aware of where you will be at all times.
(b) If you are over the age of 18 you must tell your Host if you plan to go on a holiday during your Homestay and comply with the AHN room holding policy.
As an AHN Homestay Host you must:
- Make yourself and your Home available to your Guest. You must be a permanent resident of the Home and be available to your Guest on a reasonably frequent basis. You must specifically be present at the Home when your Guest first arrives or arrange for a trusted friend or family member with a current Police Check (and/or Working With Children Check if your Guest is Under 18) to be present. Your Guest should have internal access to the Home at all times, meaning you must provide a key, security code or other means of entry in case you are not present at the Home at any time. Your Guest should also be able to contact you within reasonable hours. You must notify AHN if you are hosting more than 2 guests at any one time.
- Help your Guest settle in to a comfortable and safe Home. This means providing a structurally sound, clean, private, single occupancy bedroom accessible from within the Home, with a secure door, and which is comfortably cool/warm depending on the season. Your Guest must have a suitable bed, sheets, desk, desk chair, lamp and proper hanging space with drawers. Your Guest must have access to laundry facilities and lockable bathroom and toilet facilities. Make your Guest aware of the layout of the Home, any instructions (for household appliances or amenities such as a pool) and clearly explain your household rules. Your Home must be fitted with working smoke detectors and comply with all local council regulations. Always ensure that you respect the privacy of your Guest and never engage in any physical contact under any circumstances.
It is your responsibility as the Host (as well as any other applicant named on your application form and registered by AHN as a Host) to ensure all residents in your Home abide by the obligations outlined in this Policy. This includes residents under the age of 18.
- Provide healthy food for your Guest. This means preparing adequate healthy meals in accordance with the agreed meal plan detailed in the placement report, with at least one meal per day consisting of meat/other protein, vegetables and rice/noodles. Ensure you have adequate grocery items for any meals (breakfast or lunch) that your Guest may be required to prepare themselves and take the time to show them what to do. For example meal options, please visit https://www.homestaynetwork.org/student-meal-expectations.
- Help your Guest to access or organise important services. This means showing your Guest how to use your telephone and internet services, or helping them to sign up to short-term services in their own name. You should also help your Guest open an Australian bank account or set up online banking if necessary.
- Show your Guest around the community. Help your Guest to understand the route to and from their Education Provider or other relevant venue. If this involves public transport, show them how to buy transport tickets. Make your Guest aware of places of interest within the community such as shops, parks and important services such as banks, post offices and local police stations. Also ensure they know the emergency contact number is 000.
- Include your Guest in normal activities and help them to learn. Your Guest’s privacy is important but you should make a genuine effort to involve them in your Home and community. Be flexible, sensitive and patient when communicating with your Guest and use clear, understandable English.
- Assist your Guest to seek medical or dental attention as necessary. If your Guest is sick you must assist them with seeking medical treatment, including arranging appointments and transportation if required. If necessary you must notify the Education Provider of the dates and times of any leave required to attend appointments and and assist your Guest to get a proper medical certificate. If necessary, call 000 for urgent medical attention. While we ask Guests to disclose information regarding illnesses prior to arrival, we cannot guarantee they are up to date with the recommended vaccinations. We suggest contacting your Guest prior to arrival if you are concerned about health risks.
- Maintain valid clearances and notify AHN of any changes to residents. Hosts must list all residents in their profile and immediately notify AHN of any changes. To participate in the AHN homestay program, all Hosts and residents are required to obtain the relevant Working with Children Check and/or Police Check for their State/Territory and ensure these remain valid. Details of State/Territory requirements can be found at https://aifs.gov.au/cfca/publications/pre-employment-screening-working-children-checks-and-police-checks/part-overview.
- Pass initial and ongoing Interviews and Inspections. Hosts are required to complete and pass an interview and home inspection before they are made live and ready to take their first guest. AHN will conduct regular ongoing inspections, at various periods depending on the age and needs of the guest(s), whilst a host is actively hosting.
If you are hosting an international guest directly or from another homestay provider they are not required to obtain clearances, however, you must sight their visa for validity and let AHN know immediately if you have any concerns.
Hosts must notify AHN in advance of any overnight visitors or new residents coming into the home so that appropriate action can be taken.
- Understand the extra responsibilities of hosting International Students under the age of 18. This means:
(a) only hosting other Guests, or students of any institution, that are the same gender as your Guest;
(b) enforcing the curfew set by AHN (typically 10pm unless otherwise advised) or the Education Provider and notified to you by AHN. You must notify AHN immediately if there is a breach of curfew;
(c) notifying the Education Provider if your Guest will be absent for the day and notifying AHN if you believe there has been excessive non-attendance at the Education Provider;
(d) keeping AHN, the Education Provider and Guardian informed of any issues or concerns relating to your Guest;
(e) never leaving your Guest alone at Home overnight or without an approved adult who has a current Working With Children Check and/or Police Check and notifying AHN immediately of any overnight visitors who are not permanent residents with the appropriate checks;
(f) always providing AHN with at least 2 weeks’ notice if you will be going on holidays without your Guest so that a suitable temporary homestay can be arranged;
(g) never allowing your Guest to sleep at another location overnight or go on a holiday without obtaining the permission of the Education Provider and notifying AHN;
(h) if you wish to take your Guest on holidays, you must seek approval from your Guest’s Guardian/Education Provider first and advise AHN;
(i) immediately notifying AHN of any incident or allegation of child abuse including:
(i) any act committed against a child involving –
i.i. a sexual offence; or
i.ii. an offence under section 49B (2) of the Crimes Act 1958 (grooming); and
(ii) the infliction, on a child, of –
ii.i. physical violence; or
ii.ii. serious emotional or psychological harm; and
(iii) serious neglect of a child.
- Help AHN make the Homestay as enjoyable as possible. This means regularly logging in to your AHN user profile and responding to messages as soon as possible. You must update AHN immediately with any changes to your Home, your capacity to provide a safe and supportive environment for your Guest, or any concerns you have about your Guest. You may be required to assist AHN in reminding your Guest to make payments to AHN by the due date and method set out in their AHN Guest Agreement. AHN does not permit Hosts to collect funds directly from your Guest. If a Host should enter into a private arrangement with a Guest, they will be permanently archived.
- Only use a registered vehicle with adequate insurance when transporting your Guest. When driving your Guest to their Education Provider or around the community you must hold a full valid Australian driver’s license, drive with reasonable care, obey all laws and regulations, and not drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Vehicles used to drive your Guest must be road registered with valid Compulsory Third Party (CTP) insurance in your name. Motor vehicle accidents and injuries are not covered under the AHN insurance policy and should be claimable under your CTP insurance.
Reviewed: 6 July 2023