Finding Somewhere to Live


  • Most advertisements in the paper only give you a very small amount of information, and properties are normally listed by location or area or under the heading of the property managers who are letting out the property. 
  • When you ring the landlord, have a list of questions in front of you and tick them off as you get each one answered.  You might be able to tell over the phone that the property is not suitable and therefore avoid wasted a trip to see it first hand.

Notice boards

  • Sometimes houses or rooms for rent are pinned up at the local supermarket, student notice boards, cafe’s or internet cafe’s.
  • If it is a room to rent that you want, make sure you find out if it is a boarding or flatmate arrangement, or if they are looking for a tenant to be signed on the tenancy agreement.  You need to know if you are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 or not and therefore what your rights and responsibilities will be.  You also need to know what the rent will cover. For example, is phone and power extra?

Letting Agent listings

  • They normally advertise on the internet and in the newspaper, but they also have a list at their office. 
  • A letting agent might require you to go to their office and fill in an application form before they let you view their listed properties.
  • They not only have a list of properties available for rent, they will know which properties on their books that might be vacant in the future, so it is a good idea to tell them what sort of property you are looking for in case there is a place that would suit you that is not being advertised yet.
  • Sometimes the company is only employed to find the tenant, and the owner intends to be the landlord for the rest of the tenancy.

Word of mouth

  • This is a great way to get information as there is a chance you might get to speak to the tenant still living in the property.  If the place for rent is empty or the current tenants want to break their fixed term contract – ask a lot of questions! For example, is there something about the property that is not ok?  Is it very damp?  Are there problems in the neighbourhood?  Is the landlord refusing to do maintenance?

The internet

  • A lot of properties are now rented on the internet, which can be very helpful as you can see photos of the property.  There can be some problems finding housing this way.  If there is a reference number with the advert, give that to the landlord when you ring up to find out more information.  Ask how old the photos are, and remember not to break the biggest rule – going to the property without the landlord’s knowledge!  Most properties are still being lived in and the tenants will not appreciate you turning up on their doorstep.
  • The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment ( ) website has an on-line tool called ‘Market Rent lookup’.  Here you can search by suburb for the market rent for different types of houses, flats, apartments and rooms, based on the quarterly statistics collected by the Bond Centre.

Public housing providers / Social housing providers / Community housing providers

  • These include Housing New Zealand Corporation, Otautahi Community Housing Trust, and other social housing providers.
  • They have their own criteria for who they rent to and will require a referral or an application process to be completed to see if you are eligible.  They may request more personal information than private sector landlords do so they can see if you meet their criteria, however most of these tenancies are covered by the Residential Tenancies Act 1986.  In other words the tenants and landlords have the same rights and obligations as private sector tenants and landlords.

Homelessness and Emergency Accommodation

Finding somewhere to live in an emergency can be very difficult. For agencies in the Christchurch region there has been a resource developed called the No Fixed Abode and Support Services Directory. The directory can also be found on-line.

Contact Details

Tenants Protection Association (ChCh) Inc
Te Tōpū Tiaki-ā-Kainoho
Room 3, 301 Tuam Street, Christchurch 8011
Ph.(03) 379-2297

info [at] tpa [dot] org [dot] nz (subject: Enquiry%20from%20Website)