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Before you sign for a flat

Who are you going to flat with?

Choosing flatmates is usually the first thing you will do.

You and your flat mates should share similar expectations around:

  • Budget: rent, food, bills
  • Heating: frequency of use and temperature of the heat pump, individual heaters in room
  • Location: where you would like your flat to be
  • Domestic duties: cleaning and cooking rosters or separately

Ensure you have conversations with potential flatmates about how you want to live. Flatting with your best friends, even though you have shared interests, is not necessarily going to make for a successful and enjoyable flatting experience.

If you want to run the heat pump on a constant low setting all day and your potential flat mate wants to only run it at breakfast and dinner time then re-consider who you are choosing.

There are many ways you can find flatmates

How will you choose a good flat?

Characteristics of a good flat

  • Warm: check out Cosy Homes
    • Sunny side of the street is best, morning or afternoon sun
    • No large trees blocking the sun
    • Insulated- Landlords must tell you whether it is there, what type and in what condition
    • No evidence of dampness
    • How is the flat heated, is this cost effective?
  • Noise
    • Soundproof
    • Proximity to neighbours
    • Upstairs or downstairs noise
  • Cleanliness and safety
    • Any evidence of mould?
    • Must have working smoke alarms
    • Who takes care of the section?
  • Costs
  • Rent- does this fit with your agreed budget?
  • Is it fully or partly furnished?
  • How much bond is required and when does it need to be paid?
  • Landlord

Most importantly take your time to select a flat, there are plenty to choose from in North Dunedin and surrounds. A cold and damp flat may lead to health issues which will impact on your academic pursuit at the University.

When looking at a flat ensure you consider what it will be like in the middle of winter as that will be your new home, away from the warmth of your College.

Which tenancy do I sign?

Once you have completed your diligence on choosing flat mates and choosing a flat it is now time to sign an agreement for your flat.

You need to be very clear about what you are signing. When you receive the agreement from your prospective landlord, have them explain it to you then take it away and consider it as well as ask advice from your family.

There are 4 types which you should explore more on the NZ Tenancy Website:

  1. Joint tenancy- one contract for all tenants, you are all liable.
  2. Individual tenancy- only you are liable for your costs
  3. Periodic lease- not for any specific term
  4. Fixed term lease- starts and finishes on a specific date

Tenancy agreements must be in writing. Other things that must be included can be found on:
tenancy.govt.nz/starting-a-tenancy/tenancy-agreements/

Most students heading from a College to a flat will sign a joint tenancy which is fixed term. All of the people you are going to live with should be present when the agreement is signed. Neither tenant nor landlord can give notice to leave, this can only occur if agreed by both parties.

Jointly and severally liable means that all people on the agreement are liable for the rent of that property, if someone leaves or stops paying the ALL rent must still be paid.