Flat: long term acommodation
Flatting can either be the best or worst time of your life. Don’t just settle for any old roof over your head. Take the time to find a place you’ll love to live in and flatmates that will become lifelong friends.
During the introduction session included in most Starter Packs, your support team will go into details of flat searching. In the meantime, here are a few things that you need to know about flatting in New Zealand.
Guide to finding long term accommodation in New Zealand
To begin with, let’s clear a bit of the vocabulary relating to your flat search.
Flatting means living in a house or apartment sharing the communal costs like power. You are most likely to have your own room and share the rest of the house/flat with your flatmates. It is a great way to find relatively long term accommodation at a cheap price.
The lease is a legal document that you will have to. It will legally bind you for the entire period stated in it. So when you read “3 months lease”, it means that you will have to stay for 3 months. It can be extended by mutual agreement. If you decide to leave early you will lose your bond.
The bond is a security deposit that your landlord will keep aside. If you do not run away in the middle of your lease and do not damage the property, it will be fully returned to you on your last day in the flat. The maximum bond allowed is 4 weeks rent. Your landlord will have to fill and sign an official bond lodgement form.
Take your time to find the right fit for you. Don’t rush into the first place available.
Finding a flat in the city that you want to settle in is not only cheaper than hostels and hotels, it is also a good way to build connections in the city. Your flatmates will most probably be staying for a while, allowing you to make stronger friendships than what you might find in a hostel. We advise you to look for a flat once you get your job, as it will make commuting much easier if your flat isn’t miles away from your new work place. By the way, we have lots of information to help you find a job in New Zealand and a full job session is included in every New Zealand Arrival Packs.
What to check when visiting a flat in New Zealand?
It’s mostly commonsense but we will go over a few rules because we really don’t want you coming back to us with sad stories about your flat. We like happy stories where everybody is the best of friends and flatting was the greatest thing ever 🙂
Always check your lease. If you are unsure, ask the question before signing. You always want to know how long the lease is, what conditions are attached to your lease, and what is your notice period.
Have a look at the initial costs on top of your bond. When you move in you usually have to pay 2-4 weeks in advance. It’s a way for your landlord to get to trust you. It will be deducted from your first payment. The only time when you should have to pay a fee to move in is when you go through an agency to find your flat.
It is very important to check out the facilities available in the flats that you are visiting, from the water pressure to the washing machine, stove and fridge. Don’t forget to ask if the place comes furnished or not. You may have to buy a bed if the previous flatmate is leaving with his of hers.
Finally, and most important of all, DON’T GET SCAMMED! We see this everywhere; a landlord claiming to be overseas. It’s suspicious. Do not pay anything until you physically visit the place and your landlord gives you a key in exchange for your money. Do not make any payment using Western Union or Moneygram – they are extremely hard to trace, so scammers love it. And, of course, always be suspicious of deals too good to be true. Look at the market price and stick with it.
If you have any problem or if you want to know more about your rights, contact the DBH who are in charge of Landlord & Tenant dispute.
Where to look for a flat in New Zealand
It’s quite straightforward to find a flat. You can check the newspapers, the backpacker board in your hostel, ask your friends, and check online.
We have made a list of the best ways for you to find a flat. All the newspapers are available for free in every library and good cafe.
The newspapers are different in each city:
- Auckland: The New Zealand Herald, Auckland NOW and The Aucklander
- Wellington: The Dominion Post
- Christchurch: The Press
- Waikato: Waikato Times
- Taranaki: Taranaki Daily News
- Manawatu: Manawatu Standard
- Marlborough: Marlborough Express
- Nelson: Nelson Mail
- Timaru: The Timaru Herald
- Southland (Queenstown, Dunedin…): The Southland Times
As flatting is extremely popular in New Zealand, a bunch of websites specialise in helping you find the right flat or the right flatmate, here is our list of favourites:
- NZflatmates: we like that you can sign up with your Facebook Account.
- Trademe: it is the one stop for everything you need in New Zealand.
- Easyroommates: you can find a flat but landlord can also find you, easy as!
- Flatfinder: you can’t do easier.
It should now be a piece of cake for you to find the right flat. A full orientation is included in most Starter Packs and if you are looking for short-term accommodation, you can consult our short term accommodation guide.