What to Be Aware of When Searching for a Room to Rent
Doing a house share will be one of the core parts of your gap year in New Zealand, even if the process of finding a flat isn’t all that fun. Although travelling is better than life itself, it’s nice to stay put for a bit in some longer-term accommodation, while you work to fund your travels. Your flatmates are who you’ll be friends with for life and you’ll share some great backpacking experiences together! But, before all that good stuff, you need to find a flat in New Zealand. Although most of the room advertisements are genuine and trustworthy, there are a few minority individuals that might be out for a scam. Avoid those cretins by following these safety tips before moving into a flat or house in New Zealand.
Where to Look for a Room in New Zealand
We have a whole article dedicated to the subject in 6 Resources to Find a Room to Rent in New Zealand, but here’s a quick list of good flat-finding resources.
- Trade Me
- NZ Flatmates
- Easy Roommate
- Backpacking New Zealand Facebook group
- Local newspapers
- Local bulletins
- Supermarket notice boards
Always View a Property Before Moving in
No matter how good a house looks good in the ad, you might get a completely different impression when you view the place. Renting a room or a flat is a big expense so you don’t want to end up in a place you are uncomfortable in.
Visiting a property before moving in is also a good opportunity to meet your potential flatmates and landlord, so you can see if you think you will gel with your housemates and whether you’re landlord seems fair and trustworthy.
You can get more tips on the property inspection at How To Find a Flat in New Zealand
While you are visiting the property, this is the perfect opportunity to ask questions! The answers will give you an indication of how your stay in the house or flat is going to be. Do you get along with your potential flatmates? Try to quickly get to know them by asking what they do, for instance.
It’s important to see if you will be compatible with the people you could be living with so if sleeping patterns is an issue for you, see what their sleeping patterns are, especially if you have a roommate. What spaces do you share? Look at the kitchen and bathroom and ask where your stuff would go. How is cleaning shared? You might also want to know if your housemates would be comfortable with you bringing friends over.
Finally, ask your landlord what’s included in rent. Is WiFi included? Laundry? Are bills included in the rent or do you split the cost of bills?
Don’t Trust Advertisers Who Say They are Overseas
Some landlords may advertise a property saying that they require a deposit/option fee to secure the room before you have even seen the property. First of all, don’t do that! Always visit first.
A phoney reason the landlord might give you is that they are currently overseas on business or holiday, so can’t show you around. What they really mean is that the house doesn’t exist.
Don’t Trust an Advertiser Who Requires Payment into an Overseas Bank Account
More trust issues. This time, just be suspicious if the landlord requires you to pay in bank accounts like Western Union. Bank accounts with Western Union are easy for anyone to set up with a fake ID. It’s difficult to reverse a payment to Western Union or many other overseas accounts once they have been made.
Either make payments by cash or into a New Zealand bank account with a bank deposit.
If the Rent Rate Seems Too Good to be True, it Probably is
Check what the rent price is for similar properties in similar areas to get an idea of what the usual rent price is on the Tenancy Services website.
If the rent price is way below the usual, there is probably a reason for that. For example, a room in Queenstown is usually between NZ$150-$250 a week. If the rent rate is NZ$90 then you can probably expect to be sleeping in the garden shed with seven people. Get all the details about the room when you go view the property first.
More About Finding a Houseshare in New Zealand
We have a few more articles to help you on the way a legendary flatshare!