You will need to live somewhere while you are studying at UC, whether this is with your family at home, in student accommodation or in your own/shared flat.

We have compiled some information for you to consider before making the move. Stressful living situations can have an impact on your ability to successfully complete your studies, so if you are able to set yourself up well with the right accommodation, you are one step closer to wearing the cap and gown at graduation. Stressors may not only be your flatmates or noisy neighbours but can also be your worries about how to pay for your next week’s rent or the monthly power bill. For financial information please check our Budgeting Tips page.

UC Accommodation

The UC Accommodation Team is there to assist you in finding accommodation in a hall or campus residence. You can find the UC Accommodation Team here.

You can also find information about accommodation options for students on the UC Accommodation website or the UC Accommodation Guide.

Choosing a Flat

You may be thinking about flatting with your friends instead of staying in a university hall of residence. Or you may be thinking about joining an existing flat and make some new friends, or even living on your own.

UC Accommodation has a UC Guide to Flatting publication that provides helpful information to help you get started if you are thinking about renting or flatting.

Tips for flat hunting

  1. Flat sharing or living on your own

    There is no right or wrong answer. Some people love having flatmates while others would rather have their own space. If you are unsure about whether you want to live alone or in a shared flat, it would be worthwhile looking at the pros and cons of both.

    Flat sharing


    • Share the costs of rent, utilities (electricity, gas & water), internet and bond.
    • Easier to make friends.
    • Share costs of furniture or appliances.
    • Share cleaning duties.


    • Limited privacy.
    • Potential conflict with flatmates.
    • Different lifestyles and hygiene standards between flatmates.

    Living on your own


    • Independence and privacy.
    • Can put your own style on things.
    • Your place, your rules!


    • Can be expensive – you will be responsible for paying rent, utilities, internet, and the bond.
    • Additional expenses such as furniture and appliances.
    • Can be lonely.

  2. Property search sites

    There are several ways you can find a flat to rent or fill a room. You can do so through:

    BEWARE! There are housing scams out there, particularly when tenants cannot view a property due to being elsewhere in NZ or in another country. Ensure that either you or a trustworthy representative view the property before you sign any agreement and meet the agent/owner before making any payments. Never make large payments before signing an agreement.

    If you feel like you are being rushed into signing an agreement or the deal appears too good to be true, this raises red flags. You can always call the Tenancy Services for advice on whether the listing appears to be a scam or contact Community Law Canterbury for assistance.

  3. Things to consider

    When you are looking for an off-campus accommodation like a flat, you should first consider the following:

    • Is the flat located in an area close to campus?
    • What is the parking situation at the flat?
    • Is there easy access to public transport systems?
    • Is the flat within walking and cycling distance to and from campus?
    • Are there any supermarkets around the flat?

    Keep in mind that the closer the flat is to the campus, the more expensive the rent will be.

  4. Google Maps

    If you don’t know Christchurch well, you should use the feature on Google Maps to find out how long it may take to drive, cycle or walk to campus. Google Maps also has street views so you can see what the property and surrounding environment look like. You can also use it to find out where the nearest supermarkets, petrol station or eating places are.

  5. Public Transport

    The main public transport system in Christchurch is the bus, so check for bus routes near your new flat. The prices for bus trips have gone down massively, and as a University of Canterbury student, you can apply for a Tertiary Student Metrocard and that will give you savings of at least 40% compared to standard adult fares. You can find the Routes and Timetables at the Metro Website.

  6. Quality of the House

    There are things to consider when you are considering a house to rent.

    • 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?)

  7. Rent costs

    Is the rent reasonable? You can check this by finding the average market rent for your area the Tenancy Services website.

    Are the bedrooms the same size? Would you need to stagger the rent for your flatmates?

  8. Your rights

    Do you know your rights as a tenant? If not, Tenancy Services has really good renting information on their website, including flatting information for students new to flatting. They also have really good information on starting a tenancy.

Maintaining a Flat

Flat security tips

The Ilam and Riccarton area can be targeted by thieves because they know student flats often have people coming and going all day long, so it is easy for them to sneak in and out unnoticed.

1. Lock up

First and foremost, this is the easiest way to help deter burglars. Doors, locks, windows, garages, sheds, everything.

2. Meet your neighbours

This can be scary, especially if they drive a rusty tow truck and own three pit bull terriers, but just meeting them helps them to identify weirdos if you or your flatmates are out.

3. Look at insurance

It’s one of those things you regret not having if something does go wrong. Contents insurance may be cheaper than you might think.

4. Report it

It may be obvious but many of flat thefts go unreported! Police can’t investigate if they don’t know about it.

Flat Inspections

During the time of your tenancy, your landlord/rental agency may conduct regular flat inspections to ensure the property is kept in a reasonable condition.

Landlords need to give you at least 48h notice of their inspection and no more than 14 days in advance.

You don’t necessarily have to be present during the inspection, however, if you aren’t and there are things you want your landlord to look at, leave them a note to alert them to any maintenance issues.

However, if anything happens to the flat and may need to be repaired, it is always best to let the landlord know at the time, rather than waiting until the next inspection.

You can find more information about maintenance and inspections on the Tenancy Services website

Flatmate compatibility

If you have a room in your flat that you are trying to fill, it is helpful to host interviews for the applicants to see if they would be a good fit. Here are some example questions to ask them in the interview:

  1. Will you be able to afford rent throughout the length of the term?
  2. What’s your position on cleaning?
  3. What about washing up?
  4. How do you think food shopping and cooking should be organised?
  5. How long do you tend to spend in the bathroom in the morning?
  6. What are your thoughts around paying bills collectively?
  7. Are you planning to have friends around regularly?
  8. What about partners? Will they be staying over?
  9. What can you contribute to the flat? (E.g., a washing machine)
  10. Describe yourself in three words.

Ending a Tenancy

Here are tips to help you get your bond back:

Cleaning Up

If you’re keen to claim that bond back, a decent clean-up is important. You might be able to do it yourself but check your tenancy agreement to see if there are any conditions you may have forgot.

Know your rights

There are some things that landlords cannot require as a condition for getting your bond back. For example, they cannot require you to hire professional carpet cleaning services (even if they put it in the tenancy agreement). For more information on unenforceable clauses, visit

The DIY Clean-up: A Check List

All areas of the house:

  • Dust ceiling fixtures, lights, and skirting boards
  • Get rid of cobwebs
  • Wipe down walls, doors and ceilings if needed.
  • Clean light switches and outlets
  • Vacuum and mop (including under furniture)
  • Clean mirrors (tip: newspaper removes streaks)
  • Clean windows: glass, frames, and sills
  • Dust blinds and wash curtains (if safe. Take a look at fabric care instructions.)
  • Vacuum and clean the vent grill


  • Clean the inside and out of the microwave, fridge, oven and hob
  • Clean out cupboards and drawers
  • Clean surfaces, like benchtops and the fronts of cabinets
  • Clean and shine the sink and faucet
  • Deep clean the range hood


  • Scrub soap scum off tiles and the tub/shower
  • Clean grout
  • Deal with any limescale on tiles and taps
  • Clean out the bathroom drawers and vanity
  • Clean and disinfect the toilet
  • Vacuum the surface of the exhaust fan if it’s really dusty


  • Give the garage a clean: Empty out your stuff and give it a sweep
  • Mow the grass
  • Pull weeds
  • Remove decorations you’ve stuck in the ground or hung on trees
  • Check the deck

Flat Inspections

Before moving out, grab the landlord to do an inspection of the property together and:

  • make sure the final property inspection report is signed by both parties.
  • complete the bond forms in full, making sure the signatures match those on the bond lodgement form.
  • be open to splitting the bond if there’s any unpaid rent, damage, or other costs, like cleaning or gardening fees.
  • make sure you agree to the amount written on the bond refund form before you sign it.
  • never sign a blank bond refund form (the landlord could write any old amount in there).

Getting Pictures

Take photos of the property, to help avoid any ‘he said, she said’ about its condition (especially if some flatmates are moving out earlier and can’t attend the inspection with the landlord).

Moving Day

Don’t be pressured to move out by lunchtime: you have the full day to leave (but be reasonable about it – it’s not a great idea to hand in the keys at midnight, for example).

Another tip? Landlords also can’t have one set of tenants move out in the morning, and another set move in that afternoon!

Sorting Rent

Get written confirmation from your landlord of the final date that rent will be paid and how much that will be. This is handy if you pay rent in advance, and/or if your tenancy finishes on a day that you wouldn’t normally pay rent (e.g., the final rent payment may be prorated to cover only a few days until the tenancy ends).

Important resources

Tenancy Services

Tenancy Services provides information on rights and responsibilities as a landlord, tenant or unit title owner. Their role is to help tenants and landlords act with confidence, building good relationships, and solve any problems that may arise during your tenancy.

Contact them by calling 0800 836 262 (for Tenancy issues) or 0800 737 666 (for Bond related issues) from 8am-5:30pm, Monday to Friday. You can find out how to contact them if you speak a different language or if you are deaf or hearing impact here.

Citizens Advice Bureau

Citizens Advice Bureau provides free, confidential, independent information and advice to anyone, and help them understand their rights and how to access services they need.

Contact them by calling 0800 367 222, live chat on their website, send them a message, or visit them at a CAB location near you.

Community Law Canterbury

Community Law Canterbury is a not-for-profit organisation that provides accessible and quality legal help to people in Canterbury and the West Coast. Community Law Canterbury offers general legal advice service, information services, specialist advice, and education services.

Contact them using their online form, call them on (03) 366 6870 or 0508 CANLAW (0508 226 529), text on 027 537 0156, or email