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Private accommodation

Private accommodation can include renting an apartment, house or unit, or renting a room in a hostel or existing flat, with or without flatmates. It's important you understand your rights as a tenant when choosing this type of accommodation.

Make sure you view a selection of flats before choosing one. When it comes to the lease, read the document carefully so you understand your obligations and responsibilities before signing. If there’s anything you don’t understand, call your local accommodation adviser or contact Tenancy Services New Zealand.

Sometimes things go wrong, so if you have problems during the year, either with your flatmates or landlord, you can get help from the Students’ Association at your campus.

If you choose to live in private accommodation, we recommend you arrive a couple of weeks before the semester starts so you can get settled in.

Please note: Under the New Zealand Ministry of Education’s Code of Practice for the Pastoral Care of International Students, if you are under 18 years old, you are required to stay in an approved Homestay or with a Designated Caregiver approved by Massey University.

Finding a flat or roommate

You may prefer to live alone or you have a family, so renting a house or an apartment may be a better fit for you. In New Zealand, rent is advertised at a weekly price and can vary throughout New Zealand, depending on the condition of the property, location and size.

There are several ways you can find a flat or roommate, including:

The costs of running a flat

If you choose to live in private accommodation while your study, it is important you're aware of the additional costs to set up and run the flat.


A landlord can ask you to pay a bond when you move into a property.  The Bond is held by Tenancy Services and can be used to cover unpaid rent, damage to the property or any claim relating to the tenancy. If you look after your property and pay your rent in full, you should get your bond refunded after you move out.

Flat bank account

If you plan on having flatmates, it may be a good idea to set up a bank account for the flat. Each week, everyone in the flat deposits and agreed amount of money into the account. The money is used to pay for groceries and utility bills.

If everyone has their name on the bank account, you can all see the account's transactions - what is going in and what is coming out. 


Before you move into a new flat you will need to check whether it runs on electricity or gas, or both. To set up your power account, choose the best company and plan for your situation. Some companies offer free credit if a friend refers you.

Powerswitch is a useful website that can help you compare companies and find the best power rate.


If you don't want to be spending every minute on campus, a reliable internet connection is a must. Depending on how you use the internet and how many people you are sharing it with, you may want to look at getting a plan that offers unlimited data.

Broadband Compare is a useful website for finding the best internet deals for your property and if you're eligible for a fibre connection.


When setting up a power or internet account, usually they will only require one name to be on the bill. If your name is going on the account, it will be your responsibility to make sure the monthly bill is paid. If payments are late, you can incur late payment fees and it can affect your credit rating, which can affect your ability to get a financial loan later.

Water and wastewater

If you live in Auckland, the water and wastewater supply to the property you're renting will be metered. You will need to pay your landlord for the water and wastewater you use, this cost is additional to the rent you pay.

Tenancy Services is a good place to find out who is responsible for paying water and wastewater charges.   

More information about the cost of living in New Zealand can be found online at New Zealand Immigration

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