You may prefer the independence of a flat. Securing a flat can be difficult as there is strong competition for cheaper flats. You might join a flat with people already in it or decide to set up a flat with friends. Sometimes it is harder to get flats close to your study institution so you may want to check out options further away.

In New Zealand, an “apartment” refers to a fully-furnished ensuite space, usually for working professionals; a “flat” is where several tenants share the kitchen, bathroom and lounge and live in an individual room. Flats are normally unfurnished. Most students choose to live in a flat simply because it’s more affordable.

Finding a flat

Some places to find flats to rent or join an existing flat include;

Trade Me
The accommodation office at your institution may also have flats available on or close to campus.
Noticeboards at your institution – good if you want to flat with your school/university friends.
Ethnic newspapers can be a source for flats.
Property management companies provide services free for tenants. Here are some below:

Cowdy Company03 355 6555
Bayleys Property Management03 375 4700
Horncastle Property Management03 335 0411
Rent Right Property Management03 377 4939

Managing your flat:

For everything you need to know about renting a property including tips for renters:

Here is some useful information that will help you with your flat:

Read the fine print: make sure you know if you have entered under a fixed-term or a periodic tenancy. A fixed term tenancy is for a specific length of time and cannot be easily ended early. A periodic tenancy is an ongoing tenancy and can be ended at any time by giving notice. If you sign an agreement, you should receive a copy straight away. Keep this in a safe place so you can refer to it if a problem arises, along with a copy of all other documents. Every part of your agreement has to be in writing. A verbal agreement is not good enough proof of your tenancy terms.

Bond, house bond: as a general rule, the landlord will ask you for bond money up to the equivalent of 4 weeks’ rent in case things go wrong in your flat. For more information about the tenancy bonds go here.

Rent in advance: a landlord can ask for one or two weeks’ rent in advance in addition to the bond. They cannot require further payments until the rent is used up.

Inspections: there are three inspections you need to take seriously:
Before you agree to rent, inspect the place. DO NOT agree to pay money to someone for a house you haven’t seen. You can tell a rental ‘scam’ (bad arrangement) if you are not allowed to inspect a property, the documentation looks wrong, or they want you to send money overseas or to a PO Box.Before you move in, do a very careful inspection to check the condition of the property. Note as much as you can on any pre-existing problems when you first receive your inspection sheet. It’s best to take dated photos of any damages. Keep a copy of all this documentation for yourself. This will help if you have to dispute any repairs with the landlord at the end of your stay.
When you move out, make notes and take dated photos of everything again. It’s a good idea to have witnesses to all these inspections.

Utilities: make sure you agree with your landlord about your electricity, gas, internet, water usage, etc. Agree on exactly how much you are responsible for and any usage limits in writing before you begin renting.

Leaving your flat:

Pay attention to the details regarding the end of your tenancy agreement. If you leave without giving notice, you can get in real trouble!