Private rental accommodation

Get advice on Wellington’s rental market—where to look for flats, the costs, property viewings, and your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.

The Wellington region has a variety of private rental housing options including houses, apartments, townhouses, studios, and large old homes that have been converted to smaller flats. Private board in someone’s house is also available.

You can move into a vacant property (by yourself or in a group) or into a vacant bedroom in an already established flat with existing flatmates.

The rental market is very competitive in Wellington and January to March are the busiest months when many students are looking, so allow plenty of time to find somewhere to live.

View before you sign

We recommend you do not sign a tenancy agreement without viewing a property in person. If you are moving to Wellington, we suggest you book temporary accommodation for your arrival and then look. Landlords and people looking for flatmates will expect to meet you in person, and if you’re coming from overseas, you’ll need a New Zealand mobile number.

Where to look

Searching online is the best way to find a property or room to rent, or to find flatmates. You can try:

Other options are:

  • noticeboards around campus
  • asking your friends. Landlords often prefer to let to someone referred by an existing tenant rather than go through the hassle of viewings.

Consider the costs

Rent varies depending on the type of property and its condition, number of rooms, and distance from the city. The Tenancy Services website gives an idea of typical rents in different areas.

If you live in the suburbs, think about transport costs and the time it will take to get to campus.

Keep in mind the cost of setting up a flat. This includes a bond (usually two weeks’ rent but can be up to four), two weeks' rent in advance, and may include connection charges, such as electricity, gas, and internet. It’s likely you’ll also need to buy or hire furniture and appliances, as furnished accommodation can be expensive and difficult to find.

Explore our resources to get help with managing your money while flatting.

Be organised

When looking for a flat it’s important to be organised. It’s competitive out there and the rental process can move very fast. When you attend a property viewing it’s a good idea to have your references and ID with you and to ensure you have the funds available to pay a bond. If you have lived in a hall of residence, the hall will usually provide you with a reference on request. Many flat hunters treat a viewing like a job interview.

Know your rights and responsibilities

When you sign a tenancy agreement (lease)—which is normally fixed for 12 months but could be shorter or a periodic (ongoing) tenancy—you need to be aware of your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Find out about starting a tenancy.

If you join a shared house as a flatmate, there are differences between being a tenant and a flatmate.

VUWSA provides information, advocacy and support for student tenants in private rental accommodation.

Find out more about VUWSA's flatting advocacy.