Haere mai! A guide to Kiwi rentals

Whether you’re working or travelling, you’ll find that there’s so much to explore here. But at the end of the day, everyone needs a good home to relax in. If you’re just getting to New Zealand, you’ll probably be renting your first place. 
The rental process here is likely different from back home. To help you navigate the way Kiwis do things around here, we’ve put together this quick guide about the rental market - let’s get you settled.

Where to begin?

Getting settled in a New Zealand rental home isn’t difficult, you just need to ask the right questions during your search. Consider the following:

  • Do you have a job? If yes, think about how close the neighbourhood is to where you will be working. Will that change your decision? If you don’t yet have a job, is the neighbourhood close to places where you could work?
  • Do you have a car? If yes, make sure the properties you’re considering have space for your car. This might be on the street or in a car park itself. If no, consider how you will travel. Will you be close to the bus or train?
  • Do you have children? If yes, figure out if the neighbourhood is near a school. New Zealand has specific areas for each state school. Will it be easy for them to get there? You can find information on this here.

Keep in mind that rent in New Zealand is usually paid on a weekly basis. If you’re paid on a monthly basis at your job, make sure that you have enough money put aside to cover the rent for a few weeks first.

If you don’t have a job yet but have savings, you can often pay rent in advance to make your application more attractive to the property manager or landlord.

Paperwork you’ll need to start getting ready

Before you go to a viewing, you need to have some paperwork ready. This includes:

  • Your CV, resume or other description of your work history
  • References from your work and from your friends about what kind of person you are
  • A short description about who you are and what you’re like.

It’s also common to be asked for a credit report or a police check. The property manager will be able to tell you if this is needed. 

Other renters competing for properties may have a New Zealand rental history to provide as well. You will not, so be ready with the equivalent written references as well as your passport for identification purposes.

Starting your search? Don’t forget to save the properties you like! Manage your rental property shortlist here.

What can and should you ask when seeing properties?

In New Zealand, rental property ‘viewings’ are usually arranged by a property manager who looks after the property on behalf of the property owner (landlord). But in some cases, it could actually be the landlord who runs the viewing.

Viewings are your chance to get to know the property manager better, and for the property manager to get to know you better. A good chat with a property manager is worth a lot for them to build trust in you and make your application more likely to be successful. Treat a viewing like a job interview.

When you’re viewing a property, you can ask questions about the home. Even if the answer seems obvious, don’t be afraid to ask: things may be different in New Zealand to what you’re used to. 

For example, sometimes the water and electricity bill is paid by the tenant separately, and sometimes it is paid by the landlord. This is a good question to ask up front - otherwise, you could end up going over budget. If you want to know other useful questions, use this checklist to get started.

Not sure what questions to ask at a viewing? Download our checklist: Top 10 questions to ask at a rental viewing.

Download now

What’s not allowed when viewing and applying for rentals?

As a tenant in New Zealand, you have a number of rights. It doesn’t matter where you’re from, you have the same tenancy rights as everyone else.

For example, a landlord can’t refuse to rent to you because of how old you are, what country you’re from, if you’re religious or not, what political opinions you hold.  A property manager or landlord should not be asking you about these kinds of details in most circumstances.

You can find more information about this in the guides at the bottom of this NZ Government page.

Ready to start searching? Discover the place that’s right for you

Now you’re ready to start renting in New Zealand, there are thousands of listings on realestate.co.nz from all across the country. To help you find the right place, you can easily save your searches so you won’t miss out on a great property. 

Set up your rental property search now

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