Private rental accommodation
Shared private rental accommodation in New Zealand is commonly known as a flat.
UC Guide to Flatting
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
Download the UC Guide to Flatting (PDF, 1176KB)
An additional useful resource is Healthy Home Hacks - tips for New Zealand students living in unhealthy homes.
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.
When to look for a flat
Finding a rental accommodation can take some time, so start looking as early as possible. Rental accommodation in Christchurch is still competitive so it may take longer to find a flat than in other parts of New Zealand.
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 temporary accommodation 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.
Do not sign a contract or agreement without viewing a property personally. Complete a property inspection report with your landlord before you move in. Be aware that many rental properties in Christchurch are not well insulated. 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 the 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:
- Upper Riccarton
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.
Each person usually has their own bedroom and shares the bathroom, kitchen, laundry and living areas.
You will need to factor insurance into your budget for your contents and car. The University's default insurance provider is StudentSafe. Alternatively, take a look at https://www.glimp.co.nz/car-insurance for car insurance comparisons.
|Weekly costs based on a 4 bedroom flat|
Costs split equally between four people
Average cost for a property within 15 minutes of the university. Find more information about market rates on the Tenancy Services website.
|$8,281 NZD||$159.25 NZD|
Average cost for electricity in Christchurch. Find more information about energy providers on the Consumer powerswitch website or at glimp.co.nz/power. Be aware that heating and insulation can affect electricity costs in colder weather.
|$2,258 NZD||$43.42 NZD|
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. Other comparison websites that may assist you are mycompare.co.nz or glimp.co.nz.
|$300 NZD||$5.76 NZD|
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. EcoShop, Restore or Trademe are good options for second-hand furniture and whiteware.
You will also need to consider other costs, for example food, transport, entertainment, contents insurance, medical expenses and other personal items. For more student budgeting information, check out the cost of living calculator on the StudyLink website.
Christchurch has an excellent Metro bus service.
The University also offers an insurance package for students through Marsh Ltd in association with Allianz for both domestic and international students.
How to find a flat
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.
Please note: No privately rented properties are individually vetted by Accommodation Services, therefore, the University cannot guarantee that the listed providers comply with the Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students.
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:
- Trademe – Flatmates wanted
- UCSA Noticeboard
- Zoeken New Zealand
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:
- A1 Property Managers
- Bayleys Property Management
- First Avenue Property
- First National Real Estate
- Harcourts Grenadier Accommodation Centre
- Horncastle Property Management
- Irelands Property Management
- Quality Property Management Limited
- Ray White - McPherson Property Management
- Warwick Todd Limited
- Whittle Knight and Boatwood Ltd
- Saturday edition of The Press
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.
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 complete a Request to Advertise Accommodation. This will be placed on the Accommodation Noticeboard located outside UCSA Offices, Undercroft, Puaka-James Hight Library. You are also invited to advertise on the UC Facebook Group "Flatmate Wanted/Room to Rent".
Contact Accommodation Services or view the Accommodation Noticeboard located in the Undercroft, Puaka-James Hight Library mezzanine (outside UCSA Offices).
The Tenants Protection Association can also give advice on the rights, interests and welfare of tenants in the Christchurch region.
Please note: The links and contacts listed on this site have not been vetted by the University of Canterbury's Accommodation Services team.