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Private rental accommodation

12 October 2023

Flatting in private rentals is popular with our students, particularly from second year onwards. Flatting offers an independent lifestyle and can be a great way to meet new people. Learn more about flatting in private rentals while you're at UC.


Shared private rental accommodation in New Zealand is commonly known as a flat. Each person usually has their own bedroom and shares the bathroom, kitchen, laundry and living areas.


Please note:  The links and contacts listed on this site have not been vetted by the University of Canterbury's Accommodation Services team.


Check out our new online resource to assist:

  • students looking to rent a room
  • students looking to rent a whole property
  • landlords wanting to list a property
Who flatting is suitable for

Flatting is popular with students, particularly in their second year and above, as it offers an independent lifestyle and can be a great way to meet new people.  Students new to New Zealand are recommended to live in halls of residence for the first year before deciding to flat off-campus.


When to look for a flat

If you are coming from outside of Christchurch and plan on finding rental accommodation once you arrive, it is a good idea to give yourself time to find a suitable property. Arrange  for at least two weeks for when you first arrive in Christchurch. Although you may not need the whole two weeks, it's a good idea to have some buffer.  Temporary accommodation may be available on campus for individual students at Sonoda Christchurch Campus - contact Sonoda directly.

Do not sign a contract or agreement without viewing a property personally.  Complete a property inspection report with your landlord before you move in.  Your landlord should provide you with an Insulation Statement to enable you to make an informed decision about the property you are about to rent.  If you are new to renting in New Zealand, refer to the online Renting and You booklet published by Tenancy Services.


Locations in Christchurch

The UC campus is located in Ilam, about five kilometres west of the city centre. Most students live in rental accommodation within a 15 minute bike ride to the campus. Popular suburbs with students are:

  • Avonhead
  • Bryndwr
  • Burnside
  • Fendalton
  • Ilam
  • Riccarton
  • Upper Riccarton


How to find a flat

UC Guide to Flatting

Download (application/pdf, 1 MB)

A handy guide that covers a range of topics to help you get started when you're considering renting or flatting. Topics include:

  • What to look for in a flat or house
  • Tenancy agreements
  • Keeping your flat warm and dry
  • Eco your flat - sustainable flatting
  • Food for flatters
  • Communication and relationships in flats

...and more!


An additional useful resource is Healthy Home Hacks - tips for New Zealand students living in unhealthy homes.  You should also be aware of healthy home standards as set out on the Tenancy Services website.


Properties are typically leased from a real estate agent or private landlord on a periodic or fixed term contract. 

You will need to decide if you want to start a new property and find other people to share with you, or move into an established shared house.


Move into an existing shared house

Rooms in existing shared houses are usually advertised online. You should book temporary accommodation for when you first arrive, then once you are here view properties in person and meet potential flatmates to see if you'll get along.

Check the following websites for flatmate wanted ads:

Find a new rental property

If you want to establish your own shared house, you will need to start a tenancy with a real estate agent or private landlord. Setting up your own house gives you more freedom to choose your location and who you want to live with.

Check the following resources for properties available for rent:


Advertise a vacancy

If you have a house to rent or a vacancy in your flat that you would like to advertise to students, you are welcome to register with Studentpad. Studentpad is a dedicated online tool for landlords to advertise properties and students to find rentals and/or rooms to rent.


Flatting is generally the cheapest accommodation option, but properties do range in price depending on location size and condition.  Also be aware that the cheapest rent may not necessarily be the cheapest option as heating and insulation can have a big impact on your costs during the cooler months.

You will need to factor insurance into your budget for your contents and car. MoneyHub helps you find the right financial services and products - see renter's insurance for safeguarding your possessions while renting.

The University's default insurance provider is StudentSafe. Take a look here for car insurance comparisons.

Fast Connect offers a free moving home service to assist in new connections, disconnections or transfers of your existing services for power, gas, phone, broadband and Sky.  

Need help moving?  Should you need assistance moving house, there are a number of moving companies in Christchurch that can help.  Find and compare moving quotes by contacting MovingPros.  Wise Move can help with moving a couch to moving a whole flat.  Contact Wise Move for a free quote.

Weekly costs based on a 4 bedroom flat
Costs split equally between four people
Annual ($NZ)Weekly ($NZ)


Average cost for a property within 15 minutes of the university.

Find more information about market rates on the Tenancy Services website.



Average cost for electricity in Christchurch. Find more information about energy providers on the Consumer powerswitch website or at

Be aware that heating and insulation can affect electricity costs in colder weather.



Average cost for a landline and broadband internet in New Zealand.

Some providers also change additional connection fees.

Compare prices on the Kiwi Money Saver website or


For further information on costs, refer to Cost of Living.



Most tenancies will ask you to pay a bond. If you don’t pay all of your rent or if you cause damage to the property, the landlord can keep some or the entire bond when you leave. The landlord is able to ask for up to four weeks' rent and this is usually paid before you move into the property.

Your landlord may also ask for one to two week's rent in advance.

Find more information about bond and renting on the Tenancy Services website.



Many flats in New Zealand are unfurnished so you will need to be prepared to buy items like a bed, desk, couch, whiteware, cutlery and appliances.  EcoShopRestore or Trademe are good options for second-hand furniture and whiteware.


Other costs

You will also need to consider other costs, for example food, transport, entertainment, contents insurance, medical expenses and other personal items. Bed or bathroom linen and kitchen items can be purchased from nearby retailers such as The WarehouseBriscoes or Kmart.  Or you may prefer to order a linen or kitchen pack online from suppliers such as Unistarterkits.

For more student budgeting information, check out the cost of living calculator on the StudyLink website.  UCSA can also help with budgeting and financial assistance.

Christchurch has an excellent Metro bus service.

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