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Flat-hunting: What to look for

Did lockdown put your flat moving on hold? Or maybe you’re thinking ahead to the end of semester 2? We’ve put together a few tips so that when levels drop and NZ gets moving again, so can you!

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? (Check out Tenancy.govt.nz)
  • Do you know your rights as a tenant? (See Tenancy.govt.nz)
  • 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?)

House Quality

  • 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 heatpump?)
  • 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?)

Location

  • 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?

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