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Moving out of home

Your own space

Topics in this section:


Can you afford it?

Check out our budgeting section first to see if you can afford to move out. Keep in mind there are big costs to start with. You’ll need to have money saved for a bond (up to 4 weeks rent) and rent for the first 1-2 weeks (depending on whether you pay rent weekly or fortnightly).

If it’s your first time flatting, it may be cheaper to move into an existing flat. Having flatmates and a good set up (with couches, a fridge and kitchenware) already in place, it will be cheaper for you and ease you into it.

If you’re not moving into an existing flat, you’ll probably have to buy lots of houseware stuff – like pots and pans, a couch, TV, toaster, cutlery, kitchenware and cleaning products. Go second-hand if you can. Often friends and family will have old (but still usable) appliances and furniture that they will be more than happy to get rid of.


Where do I look?

Whether you are looking for an existing flat, or searching for a new flatmate - the ads are everywhere including community notice boards, newspapers and online.

Start by checking out TradeMe: Flatmates, Flatfinder and NZ Flatmates.

If you want to move in with your partner or friends without other flatmates, look for a rental property online, in your local paper, or by visiting a real estate agency and ask for their rental lists. 



Landlord or property manager?

A landlord normally does something else for a living, while making some money from the rental on the side. So, they might be a bit harder to contact than a property manager, who looks after the property for a living. That’s not always the case, though.

Because there’s another salary to pay, dealing with a property manager can be more expensive than a landlord. If you’re looking at renting a property through a particular company, ask friends and family if they’ve had any dealings with that company, as the service from property managers can vary a lot.






Periodic Lease or Fixed-Term Agreements?

Periodic Lease or Fixed-Term Agreements?




Periodic Lease

There is no term that you’ve agreed to stay for, so if all is well, you’ll be able to stay in the flat for as long as you want.

The landlord can end your lease at any time as long as they give you a notice period – so you have to be good tenants!



If you clash with your landlord or flatmate or you and your partner you’re living with break up, then this type of lease gives you the option to leave.


Fixed-Term Lease

It gives you complete security for that you’ll have a place to live for a fixed period of time, as long as you don’t violate any terms of your lease agreement.

At the end of the period of the lease, you can be left without a home with no notice. Be sure that if you take a fixed lease, you are able to renew it with a reasonable period left to run on it.




If you have a horrible experience and want to leave the flat, you’re stuck until the end of the term of the lease, unless the landlord or property manager agrees to release you.


When checking out a flat, what do I look for?

  • How far away is it from your work or training institution?

  • Is it close to a bus/train route or convenient roads?

  • If you have a car, is there a car park or only on-street parking?

  • What comes with the rental? Is there just an oven, or are there other things like a washing machine, fridge or any furniture?

  • Do the bedrooms have built-in wardrobes, or will you have to make space for a standing one?

  • Will it get any sun? Are there big trees or other buildings that will block the sun?

  • Does it have a problem with dampness? Check with the landlord, or ask the previous tenant if they are available. Look for any signs of water damage or mould.

  • Is there an outside area, and if so, what is expected for maintenance?

Should I sign a lease?

If you sign the lease to a property that means the place is in your name, even if you have flatmates who pay rent. That means it’s your responsibility to make sure the rent gets paid every week. If people are moving out, you are responsible for organising replacement flatties and may have to pay the extra cost until you do. 


How do I set up utilities?

Power: Before signing anything for your power, check out to find the best deal for you. If you have no idea how much power you’ll use, talk to the provider and then go back to powerswitch after a few months and make sure it’s the right rate for you.

Phone/internet accounts: Internet accounts can be set up without a home phone account. These days, many flatters don’t bother with a home phone as most people have mobile phones.


What should I discuss at a flatmate interview?

Sharing. Discuss things like grocery shopping and cooking. Some flats will be quite communal, with everyone sharing a common shopping bill and taking nights to cook flat dinners. Other flats might go as far as having padlocks on cupboards or fridges. A common source of flat stress can sometimes be people thinking someone’s eaten their favourite snack or used their special mayonnaise. Flatting with likeminded people will help ease the tension.

How should we work the money stuff?

Consider setting up a flat account that all flatmates pay money for rent and bills into. Many banks provide a service specifically for flatters. One idea is to set an amount that will cover all rent and bills for the month and set up automatic payments for this fixed amount every fortnight. As long as everyone pays money as they should, everything should run smoothly. You can always just get everyone to pay money as the bills come in but this leaves more opportunities for people to not budget for bills and get caught out.


What are my rights and responsibilities?

There are some legal details around flatting that you should be aware of – including your rights in renting a property (i.e. what your landlord can/can’t do and what you can expect of them) and your responsibilities as a tenant (e.g. keeping the place in a good condition, reporting any damage etc.)

YouthLaw have put together some good info on this for you – check it out here.    

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