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Frequently asked accommodation questions

23 November 2023

From Covid-19 and food to laundry and parking, check out UC's Frequently asked accommodation questions.


Consistent with UC’s commitment to wellbeing and safety within all campus settings and informed by legal and medical advice, all affiliated halls of residence required a valid Covid Vaccination Passport for all staff, residents and visitors when halls opened for Semester 1 2022.  The Covid Vaccination Passport requirement was removed for the start of Semester 2.

Detailed risk assessments have been undertaken for all roles within our halls and under each Covid Protection Framework level, and this measure is regarded by the University and its affiliated providers to be a requirement that is necessary to fulfil our respective responsibilities to protect everyone within our residential communities.

Further information can be obtained by contacting our halls of residence directly:

Please refer to UC's Covid-19 webpage for up-to-date information and advice. 

UC is committed to ensuring all students succeed academically in a safe, healthy and supportive learning environment. The Education (Pastoral Care of Tertiary and International Learners) Code of Practice 2021 comes into effect on 1 January 2022, replacing  the Education (Pastoral Care of Domestic Tertiary Students) Interim Code of Practice 2019  and the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students, to which UC is also signatory.  

This Code sets out the standards of care and support that are expected of tertiary education providers.  View videos outlining what you can expect from the Code here.  

For further information, please refer to our Pastoral Care webpage.

You can apply for student accommodation if you are, or are going to be, a full-time student of the University of Canterbury or any other tertiary institution in Christchurch.  Please note, however, that preference will be given to UC students.

All students are able to apply for accommodation however priority may be given to students who are do not live in the greater Christchurch area.

You are able to apply for the halls of residence for one semester, however, preference is given to full year applications.  An application for Semester 1 will be placed on hold until December while full year applications are considered and offered.  Applications for Semester 2 open on 1 October and are offered in April/May.

All of the halls of residence are located on campus within 5-15 minutes' walk from main campus facilities.

Yes – with advanced notice you can book a tour of the campus, accommodation options, and faculties. Accommodation tours can be booked online.

There are seven halls of residence options for students in their first year of study.  Unilodge manage four of our first year hall options being University Hall, Tupuānuku, Ilam Apartments and Kirkwood Avenue Hall.  There are also three independent halls – Arcady Hall, College House and Rochester and Rutherford.

All options provide excellent facilities; students are very well supported and are encouraged to be involved and a part of their local community. All options offer academic assistance through tutorials in main UC subjects or in other subjects on request. 

Check out the Halls of Residence webpage which has our interactive video, photos and 360 degree panoramas of the rooms in order to help you get a feel for the culture of each hall.  Don’t hesitate to contact Accommodation Services with any queries you may have.

All halls will consider an application from students studying at the College of Education, Health and Human Development.  However, our team would suggest contacting the halls that you are interested in directly to check on meal arrangements if in a fully catered hall as this can differ from hall to hall in the holiday breaks.

We recommend homestay accommodation for all international students under 18 years of age on arrival. Fully-catered halls of residence will consider an application from an under 18 international student, alternatively you can stay with a designated caregiver.

There is limited self-contained accommodation for couples on campus:

Hayashi – 10 studio units for students in their second year of study and beyond
Kirkwood Flats – 2 studio units, 2 x 1 bedroom units, and 6 larger 1 bedroom flats
Sonoda Christchurch Campus - 4 studio units
University Hall - 3 x 1 bedroom units

Contracts are for 52 weeks and are non-renewable.

For first year students Kirkwood Avenue Hall offers 10 ensuite rooms and Tupuānuku offers 100 ensuite rooms, and 29 accessible rooms with ensuites.

For students who are beyond the first year of study, Hayashi offers 6 ensuite rooms.

Please note that priority is given to students with medical reasons.

Arcady Hall, College House, Rochester and Rutherford Hall, Tupuānuku and University Hall all offer meals through the academic year with limited options at College House and Rochester and Rutherford in the holiday breaks.  They all have several breakfast and lunch options, and usually at least a couple of different main meal options (including a hot option) and desserts are served each night.  Salads, fruit and hot and cold drink options are also available at each meal.  Ilam Student Accommodation do offer a catered contract for first year students with either 19 meals at Tupuānuku or 14 meals at Ilam.

Yes – the fee for halls of residence is packaged for the academic year and is not separated out. The total is due whether you are there or not, so if you miss meals, this is your choice. If you know you will miss the meal time due to another engagement, check with the staff beforehand – you can arrange to have a late dinner or packaged lunch put aside for you.

All fully-catered halls have small common area(s) set aside per floor or building which has basic equipment such as hot water facilities (eg jug or zip), microwave and a sink. Although these areas will be cleaned regularly, you would still be expected to take responsibility for cleaning up after yourself if you use these facilities. Some halls also have other kitchen facilities such as an oven available to students in common room areas.

The self-catered halls all have kitchens equipped with essentials.

Applications for 2024 accommodation open on 1 August 2023 and are due by 27 September 2023 for a February 2024 start.  Applications are due by 1 May 2024 for a July 2024 start.  Late applications for 2024 will be accepted but processed after 25 October 2023.

Yes, the accommodation process and enrolment process are separate.  However, it is helpful to have applied to enrol through My UC before you apply for accommodation as you will have your UC Student ID number to enter into your accommodation application.  

Have you requested your Common Confidential Reference Form (CCRF)?  New Zealand school leavers are required to provide a CCRF as Step 2 of the application process.  This can be requested before applications open and only takes a minute to do.  Schools are required to complete your reference by 15 September.

There is a section in the online application form called "More About You". You can prepare the content for these questions in a word document first, then copy and paste them into your application.  This can save a lot of time when completing your application.  Questions are:

  • List any cultural interests and involvements over the last two years (Performing Arts/Music) 
  • List any community service interests and involvements over the last two years
  • List your sporting interests and involvements over the last two years
  • List any positions of responsibility or leadership experience you have had over the last two years
  • Describe, in your own words, what type of person you are - approximately 300 words
  • Is there anything you would like to share about your family ie who you live with/previous family members who attended the hall
  • In what ways would you expect to contribute to the life of the hall - approximately 300 words
  • If you have been overseas for a GAP year or on an exchange, please give details.

Yes, there is a $100 non-refundable application fee.  

Halls of residence are looking to select a variety of students from various backgrounds and abilities so they can establish a well-rounded student community within the hall. The only information the hall can use for this selection process is obviously what you write about yourself and what your referee writes about you. Therefore, you need to be as open and forthright as you can. Complete all areas of the application carefully and with consideration as it will be important for your selection.

A CCRF is a reference required for all NZ Secondary School leavers as Step 2 of the application process for accommodation.  The same reference form is used for a number of universities and tertiary institutions in NZ.  On our website there is a link to submit a request - Common Confidential Reference Form.   Your high school will receive your request and complete your reference which comes directly to our office as well as any other institution you have requested it be submitted to.  

The main method for contacting you will be by email so please supply an appropriate reliable email address that you are able to check daily, especially if you are away on holiday. Check that you can receive large attachments and note that some emails can be bounced into junkmail or spam folders by the spam filters, so you must be sure you can also check these folders regularly. If you use a school email address, remember to update it once you have left school - we do not recommend using a school email address.

Once you have submitted your application, you are not able to go back and make changes.  Contact Accommodation Services with your full name and date of birth and we can make changes for you. Do not complete another application.  

If you change your mind and no longer require accommodation, please let us know in writing as soon as possible. Email us with your full name and date of birth indicating that you wish to cancel your application. We cannot accept a cancellation by telephone.

All halls will undertake a selection process. What you say in your application form is very important for the selection process. Equally important is what your referee says about you in your Common Confidential Reference Form.

The halls are looking for how you are going to contribute to the hall community - your sporting interests, cultural interests, community involvement etc. They are looking for students from a wide range of areas geographically and across a wide spectrum of disciplines. Choosing too many students from one particular school or in one area of study is avoided, if possible. Students are encouraged to make new friends, get involved in activities, and form new interests. You will not necessarily be located near your best mate, but you will have someone with similar interests to your own close by and your friends are only a few minutes away.

Fees are set in July for the following year, however in the meantime you will need to use the current year's fees as a guideline. As soon as fees are confirmed they are made available on the Accommodation Services website.

You can find current fees on each hall's webpage or you can view a comparison chart on the Halls of Residence webpage.  Payment frequency does differ between halls from fortnightly payments to three instalments throughout the year. 

The deposit is required on acceptance of a place of approximately $900 - $1500 – this amount will differ from hall to hall.  First instalments are due at the end of January.  Check out the Comparison Charts on the Halls of Residence webpage for further information.

Offers will be emailed from 9 October 2023 with a response and deposit, if accepting, due 24 October 2023.

Once your due date has passed, your offer will expire and your place will be offered to another student. If you wish to be re-considered, please ask the Accommodation Services to reactivate your application, however, you will likely have lost your place at your preferred option.

Between 27 September and 9 October the halls will make their selections.  During this time, if you are not successful in your first preference, your application will be forwarded to your second preference if they still have rooms available.   If your preferences are exhausted and you are not offered a room you will have the option to be placed on a general waitlist for all halls or accept an offer of an alternative hall with availability.

Should demand exceed capacity, Accommodation Services will operate a General Waitlist held centrally that all halls will have access to.  This ensures the student the best opportunity of being offered a room on campus.

The option of a General Waitlist will be offered if a student's application has been unsuccessful.  Please note: this does not mean the student has been declined by their first and second preference, or that they have not submitted a strong application.  In some cases halls are not able to consider second preferences as they have already made their selections from first preference applications.  It is, therefore, important to choose preferences carefully.

The benefit of a General Waitlist is:

  • The application will be offered for consideration to both preferred halls before being given the option of a General Waitlist or an alternative hall with available rooms.
  • The application will be accessible to all halls, rather than held by one individual hall.
  • Accommodation Services will communicate weekly to waitlisted students advising on availability.   
  • The General Waitlist is not ranked and any student can be offered a room at any time.  However, halls will take into consideration Maori or Pasifika students, equity, scholarship recipients, students residing outside greater Christchurch, students of younger age, students studying degrees unique to UC, and any specific circumstances.

It is important to note that any of the halls listed in the student's application are able to offer a room at any time.  It is the student's decision to accept or decline the offer.  If the offer is declined and the student wishes to remain on the General Waitlist, they must inform Accommodation Services of their decision.

If a hall wishes to offer a room to a student who has not listed them as a preference, Accommodation Services will contact the student to advise if they are happy to be offered a room at that hall.

A student cannot be offered a room and stay on the General Waitlist at the same time.

The University of Canterbury has agreements with Arcady Hall, College House, Rochester and Rutherford Hall, and UniLodge (Hayashi, Ilam Student Accommodation, Kirkwood Avenue Hall, Sonoda, Tupuānuku, University Hall) as specialist accommodation providers.  A residential contract is, therefore, a legal binding document between the individual hall of residence and the student - please read the terms and conditions carefully, particularly in regard to penalties to withdraw from a contract, once signed.

Contact Accommodation Services/Te Ratonga Nohonga for more information and advice.

No – you will need to choose if you wish to be placed on the General Waitlist for all halls, or have your application considered by a hall with available places.

A refund or partial refund will depend on when you withdraw. For all options, the Administration Fee is non-refundable.

As your contract is with the individual hall, check your contract for withdrawal dates and the refunds that apply.  To withdraw during the year before your contract end-date, each hall has its own policy which is applied on a case by case basis.

Contract dates differ between halls of residence and are listed in the Comparison Charts on our Halls of Residence webpage.  If you need to arrive early, please contact the hall directly.  Casual accommodation is also available at Sonoda Christchurch Campus.

For some halls there is a particular contract end date applicable to all residents, for others there is a policy that you must leave 24 hours after your final university commitment. 

Some halls provide catering during term and semester breaks, whereas others encourage students to go home during the breaks. Meal availability may also differ during these times. Check out the Comparison Chart on the Halls of Residence webpage.  

The hall you have been accepted into will allocate you to a room.  If you have a specific request, be sure to let the hall know once you have confirmed your acceptance. One of the best things about living in student accommodation is that you meet so many new people. In allocating rooms, consideration is taken to locate you with other similar minded people but also mix you with people from different cultures or backgrounds. You are more likely to get out and meet more people if you are surrounded by others in the same position. This will be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life and you are likely to form many long-lasting friendships. Even if you are in different locations, your friends are not that far away.

If your preference is a self-catered apartment, it is possible for you and your friends to request to stay in an apartment together.

All halls have unlimited Wifi throughout available via UCwireless or eduroam.  An internet account will be activated on acceptance or a formal enrolment offer. Non-UC students will need to arrange their own internet plan.  Broadband internet using a wired (Ethernet) connection is provided by 2degrees Broadband.

Students will be sent detailed information before they are due to arrive about what they will need to bring. Generally Arcady Hall, College House, Rochester and Rutherford Hall, and Tupuānuku all provide bed linen which is included in the year's accommodation costs (excluding towels). Ilam Student Accommodation, Sonoda Christchurch Campus, University Hall and Kirkwood Avenue Hall do not provide bed linen, however, bed linen packs are available for purchase if required.

Yes – you are required to do your own personal laundry.  A communal laundry with washing machines, dryers, irons and ironing boards are available.  Arcady Hall, College House and Tupuānuku have drying rooms. All halls provide free laundry facilities.  

Guests are discouraged during the first two weeks after arrival.  Halls will allow a friend come to stay for one or two nights by approval with the Head of Hall and sleep on a mattress on the floor.  Meals can be arranged for your guest by arrangement with the Head of Hall.

All first year students will be offered tutorials in core university subjects and in specific subjects on request.  Make your needs known to your Residential Advisor/Assistant.  Tutorials are run by students who have passed the courses with excellent results.

Car parks are available but are limited and offered on a first-in, first-served basis. If you wish to have a car park, you will need to inform the hall as soon as you have confirmed your contract. The cost of parking permits varies depending on the hall from $120 - $500 for the year. These permits are specific to each site and do not include parking in any of the permitted areas on campus. 

Students residing at Kirkwood Avenue Hall or Tupuānuku are required to park on the road or purchase a student parking permit to park on campus.  A discounted rate is available for hall residents to park on the Dovedale campus. Enquires can be make at UC Security.

Unless you have a sport or work commitment, you will find that getting around campus is very easy and a car is not necessary.  The Metro Bus service in Christchurch is extensive and biking is easy as Christchurch is very flat.

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