4 December 2023

How Do I Find Student Accommodation in New Zealand? | Study with New Zealand

Theo Spruyt
Global Digital Content Specialist | Education New Zealand

Once you’ve confirmed your study plans for the upcoming year, the next thing you’ll need to arrange is accommodation. While this might feel difficult to arrange, there are multiple different options you can choose between to suit your lifestyle.

So, where can you live while you study in New Zealand?


The most common type of accommodation for students and young professional workers are flats (also known as ‘flatshares’, ‘houseshares’ and ‘rentals’).

A row of student flats near the University of Otago in Dunedin

Flats vary in a lot of different ways; from size, amounts of rooms, and costs. If you decide to flat while you study, do your research and check exactly what you’ll be getting and where you’ll be staying. Be sure to talk to existing flatmates before moving in and find out whether they all live independently of one another, or if you’re about to move into a highly social party flat!

Listings for vacancies in flats can be found across the internet. Trade Me, New Zealand’s largest online auction and classifieds website, has a section of their website dedicated specifically for individual flatmates and entire flats that are available.

You can also browse community groups on Facebook to talk directly with people who are listing rooms in their flat as available to rent. Be sure to read all descriptions of flats and rooms carefully and prepare your own questions to ask if you decide to book in a time to view the property.

There are other websites like nzflatmates.co.nz, oneroof.co.nz and realestate.co.nz that also have available rooms and entire flats listed.

University Halls

For students wanting a more structured environment while they study, university halls (also known as ‘Halls of Residence’) could be their best option.

The hall of residence called 'University Hall', based at the University of Auckland

A dormitory-style environment, halls provide everything students need in one convenient location. Facilities like bathrooms, laundries and social areas can be found in these halls, meaning students will have everything they need within walking distance. Meals are also catered for students in the kitchen and dining area.

Despite the routine and structure, there is still a strong social component to life in university halls. Be prepared to be asked to socialize at events which could include drinking alcohol and partying.

It’s important to note that while some halls can seem similar, there will be differences between each one, like costs, onsite facilities, and other features. Be sure to research each option available to you before applying for your preferred option.

You can find out more about the local halls on offer at your education provider by visiting their website. Spaces at halls can fill up fast, so be sure to check when application dates open and close.

International student Maggie Shircliff wrote a blog for Study with New Zealand about her experiences living in a University Hall in New Zealand. You can find it here.


For some students, they might prefer the comfort and calmness of boarding or being a homestay student while they study.

A typical homestay experience for many international students

Being taken in by a local family, boarders and homestay students get all the comforts of home while studying in a different country. You’ll have access to everything you’re used to at home, while also not being too close to a rowdy party culture that others in flats and halls might be exposed to.

Like anyone else living in a family home, boarders and homestay students are expected to be respectful of their hosts and the house they stay in. Loud noises late into the night, rude behaviour, and general untidiness won’t be appreciated by your host family, so treat their homes like you would treat your own.

International student Josephine Malenga wrote a blog for Study with New Zealand about her experience as a homestay student. You can find it here.

Rent, Bonds & Other Costs

There are several costs that come with living in New Zealand that you’ll need to be aware of while you study.

There are many ways of paying your bills in New Zealand, like online, on the phone or in person

Your bond is lodged with Tenancy Services, a public sector service, and will be held by them for the duration of your lease at any one location. The purpose of the bond is to cover any unpaid rent, damage to the property, or any claim(s) relating to the tenancy. It will be refunded once the final tenancy paperwork has been completed.

The cost of bonds can vary from property to property, but usually cost between $1,000 to $3,000, depending on the property size and amount of people living there.

There are two typical ways that bonds can be paid for. In some cases, the head tenant will lodge the entire amount for the bond themselves. In other cases, the tenants will divide the total amount of the bond equally and lodge it together. Either way, landlords who charge a bond must lodge it with Tenancy Services within 23 working days of receiving full or partial payment and provide tenant(s) with a receipt.

Rent can also vary and will be affected by the features on the property, location, size, and so much more. Be sure to do your research on average rents in the area you want to live in to ensure that you aren’t paying too much.

Other costs (electricity, gas, internet, water) vary from location to location and are usually the tenant’s responsibility entirely. If you are starting a new lease on a property, it will be up to you (and your other flatmates) to find the companies and service packages that suit your needs and budget.


When it comes to New Zealand accommodation, there are several choices available to students. After doing your research and determining which options suit your needs best, take the time to go over all your choices carefully, and don’t be rushed into any choices.

Enjoy the experience of looking at properties for rent in New Zealand, meeting new flatmates, and seeing the best of what New Zealand has to offer its students!

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About the contributors
Theo Spruyt
Global Digital Content Specialist | Education New Zealand