Flat-hunting: What to look for
New year, new flat? Finding a new rental can feel daunting (especially if it’s your first), so to help, here’s our best advice on what to look out for when you’re browsing. Hint: It involves a lot of questions.
Setting up the tenancy
- Is the landlord refusing to give you a tenancy agreement and asking that you pay rent in cash?
- Will you be able to put all flatmates on the tenancy agreement?
- Do you know the maximum amount of people allowed to live in the house?
- Do you know if you want a fixed-term or periodic tenancy?
- Do you know your rights as a tenant?
- Do you really like/know the people you are going to live with?
- Does the landlord/property manager seem all right/helpful?
- Can you afford it based on your current income?
- Is the rent reasonable? (you can find the average market rent for your area on Tenancy.govt.nz)
- Does it have sufficient bathroom facilities for the number of bedrooms?
- Do you have enough storage?
- Does it come furnished?
- Are the rooms the same size? (Would you need to stagger the rent for your flatmates?)
“Is the rent reasonable? You can actually check this by finding the average market rent for your area on Tenancy.govt.nz”
- Does it meet the Healthy Homes Standard for insulation?
- Is it warm? (Are the windows double-glazed and in good condition? Is the joinery in good condition? Are the curtains all right and are they included? Is there a heat pump?)
- Does the house get sun during the day? (Is it North facing? Are there trees/houses blocking the sun?)
- Is it dry? (Can you spot any mould on curtains or ceilings? Are there any leaks? Does it smell musty?)
- Is there any visible rot in the exterior (e.g. decking, wood panels, doors, window frames, guttering)
- Does it have a high maintenance garden? (Do you have time to handle this? Will the landlord take care of it?)
- Is it noisy? (Are the walls a bit thin?)
- Does the house have good security? (e.g. are there deadbolt locks? How many keys are there? Does it have lockable windows?)
- Is it going to take you longer than 30 minutes during rush hour to get to uni?
- Is there a supermarket nearby?
- What kind of neighbours does the house have?
- If you have a car, what’s the parking situation?
- If you take a bus, is it close to a stop?
Now you’ve got some tips, go forth and bag your new flat. You’ve got this!