Make sure to download our Flatting Mag for 2021, so you can keep all this info handy! You can download it here! 


Really important info you need to know about flatting

  • When you move in
  • Flatting agreements
  • Damages and repairs
  • Tenancy agreements
  • Inspections
  • Bond
  • Disputes and Tenancy Tribunal
  • Change of tenant
  • Staying warm and dry
  • Healthy communication
  • Flatting violence
  • Sexual violence
  • Mental Health
  • Queer friendly flatting
  • Saving on food

First things first - three things to do when you move in

  1. Take clear photos/videos of EVERYTHING - and we mean everything. Get pictures of the walls, floor, ceiling, furniture, appliances, curtains, outside areas, and anything left behind by the last tenants. If something is damaged, stained, broken, or dirty when you move in make sure you get a picture of that too. This will come in handy when it's time to sort out the bond at the end of the year, you don't want to be charged for mess or damage that was already there!
  2. Notify your landlord/property manager of any issues in writing, whether you want them addressed or not. You are required to let the landlord know about any issues with the flat as soon as possible. Even if the microwave that came with flat isn't working but it's ok because your flatmate has their own, still tell the landlord - they might not believe you when you say it was like that when you got there.
  3. Sit down with your flatmates and discuss a flatting agreement - it will make life easier.
Flatting agreements

You're all going to have to live together for a year so it's a good idea to figure out how to make it work now. Finding out each other's expectations and negotiating how you're going to address various issues now will help to avoid a lot of arguments and drama down the track.

A flatting agreement is a way of working out how to keep the flat going throughout the year and  taking into account everyones different lifestyles and  opinions on how things should be done. Have someone keep notes on your discussion and at the end get everyone to look over it so it accurately reflects your discussion and sign it at the bottom. Here are some things to consider:

  • Bedrooms: who gets what? how will rooms be assigned and how will you compromise if everyone isn't happy? are any rooms significantly better than others, and how should rent be adjusted to reflect this?
  • Flat account: Will there be a flat account and how much will each person put in? Who will be responsible for the flat account? Will you use it to purchase shared items e.g.. milk, toilet paper, and what does that include?
  • Bills: Whose name will be on the different accounts (e.g.. power, internet), and how will you make this a fair deal so they don't end up having to a) be the unpopular one that who chases everyone up, or b) get stuck having to pay extra to cover other peoples share? Will bills be divided up at the end of the month or will everyone put a set amount each week into the flat account? Be aware that power bills will go up in winter so don't forget to budget for this.
  • Out of town: If someone goes out of town how will the costs be split? should they pay as usual, pay nothing, or pay a smaller amount?
  • Cooking: Will you have flat meals? how will you budget for these and decide whose turn it is to cook? or will you just do your own thing?
  • Cleaning: Tenants are responsible for keeping the property reasonably clean and tidy. Will you have a cleaning and chores roster and how will you divide tasks? What's the timeframe for completing chores? Will everyone be responsible for their own dishes or will there be a dish roster? Get an idea of everyone's standards of cleanliness and negotiate some reasonable requirements, for example: not hoarding dishes in bedrooms, using the toilet brush when appropriate. How will you make sure everyone is pulling their weight, and what will the consequences be if someone slacks off?
  • Visitors and partners: What's everyone's expectations and comfort level around guests? Discuss various scenarios e.g.. some of the flatties want to have mates over for drinks but you have to get up early for work or have to study, what happens then? Will you have no party periods e.g. at exam time? Can friends and/or partners stay over? How often can they stay before they are expected to contribute to costs? Can people crash in the lounge or should they stay in someone's bedroom?
  • Drugs, alcohol, smoking: What is and isn't ok? When? Where?

These are just a few of the common areas of tension, but feel free to brainstorm more.

OUSA Student Support can provide a template for a flatting agreement and can help out with some impartial guidance if it's getting tricky to reach an agreement.

Damages and repairs

You must tell your landlord/property manager ASAP if something needs to be fixed or maintained, it doesn't matter how the damage happened or who did it.

Whose responsible for fixing it?

Whose responsible depends on what it is and how it happened. You need to tell your landlord about any damage or anything that needs to be repaired. If something isn't working or even if its only partly broken you need to tell the landlord, if you don't, the landlord could claim some of the cost of repair from you if it gets worse. Always communicate with your landlord in writing to keep the best record!

You are not responsible for damage caused by burglary, natural events (e.g. floods), or fair wear and tear.

Intentional damage: If you or one of your mates intentionally damages the landlords property you must tell the landlord, they can ask you to fix it or pay the cost of fixing or replacing it.

14 Day Notice: if your landlord hasn't fixed something or has breached any of their other responsibilities you can issue them with a 14-day notice to remedy. This gives them 14 days to fix the problem. OUSA Student Support can give you a copy of the 14-day notice and help you fill it out.

You can't refuse to pay rent until the landlord fixes something, but you can negotiate a rent reduction. What's reasonable in terms of compensation depends what the issue is and how much of the house is affected.

Urgent repairs: If there's a significant health and safety risk that could result in injury if it isn't fixed quickly you can arrange to have the work done and get the landlord to reimburse you for the cost. Before you do this you need to have made reasonable attempts to contact the landlord. If you havn't heard back from your landlord or aren't sure if it's urgent or not come and speak to OUSA Student Support.

Insurance: Get some insurance to avoid going bankrupt at 21! Your landlord's insurance doesn't cover your belongings so its wise to get some contents insurance. You might also want some personal liability insurance for certain situations where damage isn't covered by the landlord's insurance. There are different types of insurance policies and prices so it pays to shop around.

Renovations over summer: a lot of landlords do renovations and upgrades over the summer break, remember that from the moment your tenancy agreement starts you are entitled to live in the flat without interruption. If you're paying rent you are entitled to vacant possession of the flat and it needs to be reasonably clean and tidy and in a reasonable state of repair. 

Landlords can't give notice to do renovations - they can only give notice to do necessary rapairs or maintenance during the tenancy. 

Tenancy agreements

Types of tenancy agreements

Fixed Term: This is the most common type of tenancy agreement in student flats, you rent the property for a fixed period of time (usually 12 months). This type of tenancy can't be ended during the fixed term, but if things go wrong there might be some options so come and see OUSA Student Support if you need to get out.

Periodic: This type of tenancy has no set term and can be ended by either party giving notice. For tenants the notice period is 21 days, for landlords the notice period is 90 days (or 42 days in some situations)

Studio rooms: accomodation often advertised as 'studio rooms' are usually legally classed as a boarding house. This is a seperate type of tenancy agreement and it can be ended by the tenant with 48 hours notice - regardless of any term stipulated in the tenancy agreement. If you want to check if your studio room is actually classed as a boarding house come and chat with OUSA Student Support

Joint and several liability: Usually all of the flatmates in a flat will all sign the same tenancy agreement and 'jointly' rent the property. This means that you are all responsible for everything that happens in the flat, if one flatmate causes damage you will all be liable for it. This is where a flatting agreement can come in handy. Your landlord can claim the cost of repairs from all of you but you might get the money back from the naughty flatmate through the Disputes Tribunal. OUSA Student Support can help if this happens to you.

Living with the owner or their family member: If one of your flatmates owns the property (or more likely if you're a uni student is the child of the owner), the Residential Tenancies Act doesn't apply - unless you have explicit clause in a written agreement that both parties are contracting into the Act.

Unenforcable clauses in your tenancy agreement

Any clause in a tenancy agreement needs to be consistent with the Residential Tenancies Act 1986, any clauses or requirements that are in conflict with the Act will be unenforcable.

A common example is landlords requiring tenants to get carpets professionally cleaned at the end of the tenancy.The tenancy Act only requires tenants to leave the property "reasonably clean and tidy" not professionally cleaned, so your landlord can't charge you for carpet cleaning unless you've caused stains.

If you're feeling suspicious about anything in your tenancy agreement bring it in to OUSA Student Support, better yet bring it into us before you sign it!

Unpaid rent

It's always a good idea to talk to your landlord if can't pay rent one week, or if you're a bit behind. They'll probably be more compassionate if you're proactive and transparent with them and work out a plan on how to catch up.


Since 1 July 2016, landlords need to provide an insulation statement in all new tenancy agreements. If you are renewing an existing tenancy agreement it’s a good idea to include the insulation statement.

Since 1 July 2019, all rental properties must have ceiling and underfloor insulation where it is reasonably practicable to install.

Current insulation regulations

This statement must include:

  • whether there is insulation in the rental home
  • where it is in the walls, ceiling and underfloor
  • what type of insulation it is
  • what condition the insulation is in.

Landlords can use our insulation statement template. This will meet all the requirements for insulation disclosure under the Residential Tenancies Act. Landlords can also attach an assessment from a professional to the tenancy agreement. This will only count as an insulation statement if:

  • it includes all required information
  • is signed by the landlord.

Otherwise, the landlord can use the information from the professional assessment to complete the insulation statement.

The insulation statement must include all of the required information for insulation that is in the walls, ceiling and underfloor space of the rental.

Where a landlord cannot find the required information for a specific insulation (for example, the walls) they must include the following information in their insulation statement:

  • describe the information that the landlord cannot find
  • explain why the landlord has not been able to find the information
  • confirm that the landlord has made all reasonable efforts to find the information.

Landlords could be liable for a penalty of up to $500 if they don’t:

  • a complete insulation statement
  • include anything they know to be false or misleading.

Insulation statement template https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/assets/Forms-templates/insulation-statement.pdf

Insurance statement

Since 27 August 2019, landlords must provide insurance information in any new tenancy agreement, including whether or not the property is insured, and the excess amount of any policies relevant to the tenant’s liability for destruction or damage.

Landlords will also need to include a statement informing tenants that a copy of each insurance policy for the property is available on request, unless copies have already been provided.

They also have to tell tenants if this information changes within a reasonable time.

Insurance statement template https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/assets/Uploads/files/insurance-statement.pdf

Healthy homes standards – intent to comply statement required from 1 July 2019

From 1 July 2019, landlords must include a statement in new, renewed or varied tenancy agreements that confirms:

  • that on and after the commencement of the tenancy, the landlord will comply with the healthy homes standards as required by either section 45(1)(bb) – residential tenancies, or section 66I(1)(bb) – boarding house tenancies, of the Residential Tenancies Act, or
  • that the landlord already complies with the healthy homes standards as required by either section 45(1)(bb) – residential tenancies, or section 66I(1)(bb) – boarding house tenancies, of the Residential Tenancies Act.

Download the relevant healthy homes statement template to make sure you’re using the correct wording.

Healthy homes standards statement – residential tenancies https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/assets/Forms-templates/healthy-homes-standards-statement-residential-tenancies.pdf

Healthy homes standards statement – boarding house tenancies https://www.tenancy.govt.nz/assets/Forms-templates/healthy-homes-standards-statement-boarding-house-tenancies.pdf

This statement is also included in our residential tenancy agreement template and our boarding house tenancy agreement template.

Healthy homes standards – information required from 1 July 2020

From 1 July 2020, all new or renewed tenancy agreements must also include specific information about the landlord’s current level of compliance with the healthy homes standards.

Note: This statement isn’t required if the tenancy is for a fixed term, which ends before the healthy homes compliance date for the tenancy.

For example, if a 12 month fixed term tenancy starts on 1 July 2020 and ends on 30 June 2021, the tenancy will end before the landlord needs to comply with the healthy homes standards. In this case, the landlord does not need to include this information in the tenancy agreement.

A template for this statement will be available on this website before 1 July 2020. Landlords that don’t comply could face a financial penalty of up to $500.

What should the 1 July 2020 statement cover?

This information, if it exists, must cover the below points. If the information doesn’t yet exist, as it’s before the healthy homes compliance date for the property, the landlord can state that compliance isn’t required until the healthy homes compliance date.

Information required for heating standard

  • The type of acceptable heater in the main living room and its heating capacity (in kilowatts).
  • The required heating capacity for the main living room to reach at least 18°C.
  • If a landlord relies on the tolerance or ‘top-up’ allowance for existing heaters, they will need to state this, with a brief description of why it applies.

Information required for insulation standard (in addition to the signed insulation statement mentioned above)

  • For each ceiling insulated, either

o the insulation’s R-value and, if known, the date it was installed and when it was last inspected, or

o the thickness of the insulation and, if known, the date when it was last inspected.

  • For each underfloor space the insulation’s R-value and, if known, the date it was installed and when it was last inspected.
  • For each ceiling and suspended floor that isn’t insulated, the reason why not.

Information required for ventilation standard

  • A statement that each habitable space in the premises has one or more openable windows or doors (that meets the requirements detailed in the ventilation section above).
  • The diameter or exhaust capacity of each extractor fan installed in any kitchen or bathroom.

Information required for moisture and drainage standard

  • A statement that the rental property has an efficient drainage system.
  • Either, that the property does not have any enclosed subfloor spaces or that each enclosed subfloor space has a ground moisture barrier.

Information required for draught stopping standard

  • A statement that any open fireplace is either closed off, the chimney is blocked or that it isn’t blocked off at the tenant’s written request.
  • A statement that the property is free from unreasonable gaps that allow draughts into or out of the premises.

Exemptions information

If an exemption applies, the landlord must make a statement explaining the exemption and briefly describe the circumstances that led to the exemption.

Landlord's right of entry

The landlord might own the house but it's your flat and your home. You have a right to peace and privacy. Landlords/property managers need to give the right amount of notice before coming into the house, but they can enter the grounds without notice if they have a valid reason.

For inspections: landlords have to give between 48 hours and 14 days notice before an inspection. Inspections should be at least 4 weeks apart, unless there was an issue with the last inspection that needs a reinspection.

For necessary repairs or maintenance: the landlord has to give 24 hours notice for repairs or maintenance, these have to be necessary, they can't give notice to do cosmetic renovations - in this case landlords and tenants have to reach an agreement.

Landlords can only give notice to enter the property between 8am and 7pm, unless you agree otherwise.

Open homes and flat viewing: the landlord cannot give notice to show people around the flat, they have to agree on a time with you. You can't unreasonably withhold consent but you can request reasonable boundaries about timing, frequency, and length.

Quiet enjoyment: you are entitled to live in your home in reasonable peace, comfort, and privacy. This means landlords can't knock on your door at unreasonable times or with unreasonable frequency, or harass you in any way. They also can't make stipulations about how you live (e.g. having visitors) as long as you aren't causing damage or interfering with your neighbours' right to quiet enjoyment.


Protecting your bond

Beginning of the year: take pictures or a video of the whole property when you move in or as soon as possible. Make a list or add details to the entry inspection from your landlord if they gave you one (they are supposed to), make sure All and ANY damage, wear and tear, mould, rubbish, dirt, stains, or less than perfect things are ALL recorded. This is so you can't be held responsible at the end of the tenancy.

During the year: Report in writing anything broken, not working, or damaged straight away. Do regular cleaning to make the end of the year easier, get rid of rubbish regularly, wipe window sills regularly to stop mould and clean spills on the carpet as soon as they happen to try and avoid staining.

Ending the year: DO NOT SIGN A BOND REFUND FORM WHERE THE REFUND AMOUNT HAS BEEN LEFT BLANK otherwise the landlord can fill in any amount they want and have the bond refunded to them. Do a thorough clean of the whole flat (including inside the oven, fridge, microwave, cupboards). It doesn’t have to be professionally cleaned, but should be left in a reasonably clean and tidy standard, which means all surfaces should have been wiped, toilet+shower+basin are clean, kitchen facilities clean, window sills and skirting boards dusted/vacuumed, blu-tac (if you were allowed to use it) on walls removed (be careful when you’re doing this that you don’t chip off any paint or wallpaper), and all floors mopped and vacuumed. All rubbish and personal belongings need to be removed and the grounds left tidy too. Take your own photos of everything when you’re done so that you can compare your own records to those reported by the landlord in their final inspection.

Disputes and Tenancy Tribunal

Having issues with your landlord that just aren’t getting resolved? Perhaps your landlord hasn’t acted on your 14 day notice, or they’re trying to enforce something you believe is unreasonable and in breach of your rights. It’s time to consider your next steps. We strongly recommend talking to OUSA Student Support if you reach this point so we can help you navigate your way through effective communication and, if it comes to it, the Tenancy Tribunal.

Here is the path we recommend taking:

Communication and attempting self-resolution: Outline clearly what the issue is and why it is in breach of the tenancies act. The landlord may still be stubborn or disagree with you, but eloquently letting them know you are aware of your rights could be enough to make them back down. We recommend all correspondence with your landlord is done in writing at all times. If you discuss any important issues over the phone or in person, send an email afterwards as confirmation of what was discussed.


Mediation: Still having trouble reaching a resolution, but think you might be able to come to an agreement outside tenancy tribunal? Consider mediation. This gives both parties the opportunity to explain their view of the situation in front of a knowledgeable mediator who can offer input about tenancy law. They will not make a decision for you and cannot enforce any follow up measures, but they can facilitate a conversation that is fair and respectful and provide relevant information to help you and your landlord come to a decision. 


Tenancy Tribunal: Don’t think mediation will cut it, or tried and still couldn’t reach an agreement? It might be time to take it to Tenancy Tribunal. This is like a mini court hearing where tenants and landlords present their side of the story and relevant evidence in front of an adjudicator. The adjudicator decides on an appropriate course of action based on what breaches of the Tenancy Act have occurred. This may include monetary payments, work orders (to have things fixed), or termination of the tenancy. You and your landlord are legally required to follow through with what has been ordered by the Tenancy Tribunal. OUSA Student Support can help you right through this process to help you get the best outcome.


Landlord not honouring the tribunal order? Still having to chase them up for money or work orders? Come and speak to us. We can help you negotiate a payment plan or take the issue to the Collections Unit of the Ministry of Justice.

Change of Tenant

If you are on a fixed term tenancy agreement you can only move out if you have permission from the landlord to find a replacement for yourself (“assign” the tenancy). Most landlords/property managers will allow this provided you continue to pay rent until a new tenant takes over. 

Once you have permission from the landlord you need to find your replacement. You must take into consideration the remaining flatmates’ needs, as long as they’re reasonable. Word of mouth, Facebook pages like Otago Flatting Goods, the University accommodation site, Trademe and campus notice boards are good places to advertise your room. In some cases, the landlords might choose to advertise the room themselves and can recover the cost of this from you. Once you’ve found someone who’s interested and a good fit, the remaining flatmates and landlord have to agree to this person.

Landlords can recover any reasonable costs of replacing you, such as advertising and credit checks. If they are charging a large lump sum (property management companies often have these as a condition for assigning the tenancy), ask them for a breakdown of what this fee covers so you aren’t being ripped off.

The new tenant takes over your responsibilities under the tenancy agreement. The change must be recorded in writing by filling out a change of tenant form, which must be signed by the landlord and all the remaining tenants. This also means the bond will be under the new tenants name, so make sure you discuss bond arrangements with your replacement (the most straightforward method is having them pay you the amount for your share of the bond directly when you move).

If the paperwork isn't done correctly you will still be legally responsible for paying rent and for the condition of the property at the end of the tenancy. This could create a lot of hassle and end up costing you a lot of money! 

Staying warm and dry

Heating and ventilating your flat properly is important for your health!

The World Health Organisation says that inside temperature should be at least 18 degrees C and ideally not higher than 21 degrees C. At 16 degrees C and below the cold can start to affect the affect the respiratory system, at 12 degrees C and below it can affect heart function!

It's the temperature of the air you're breathing that makes a difference so you're better off putting your money into heating the whole room rather than putting your money towards heating just a bed with an electric blanket.

The relative humidity inside should ideally be between 40% and 60% if you'd like to test this you can borrow a hygrometer from OUSA Student Support.

Mould thrives at 70% humidity and above - this is dangerous to your health and will make your landlord unhappy.

Damp living conditions contribute to respiratory illnesses and make pre-existing conditions like asthma worse. Damp air is also harder to heat so it will add more to your power bill.

Sometimes excessive moisture is due to the condition of the house but there are things you can do to reduce moisture and it's your responsibility to do so. Here's some ideas:

  • Keep heat inside. Heat is drawn to gaps it can escape through so use these hacks to keep warm air in: Curtains are your friend and they're alot more effective if they are lined and are the right size. If your curtains arn't up to scratch you might be able to get free curtains from the Dunedin Curtain Bank. If you want to increase the power of your current curtains get some cheap sheets from an op-shop and pin them to them to the back of the curtains for extra lining. Stop draughts, scope out the gaps where heat could escape, cover gaps in doorways with a door sausage, use foam or rubber strips/stormguards, block up open fire chimneys with plastic bags filled with newspaper. Remember to talk to your landlord before installing any fixtures that can't be removed easily. Add extra insulation by placing rugs over draughty floors and use bubble wrap as a substitute for double glazing - cut it to size and adhere to the window by spraying water onto the glass and covering it with the bubble wrap. You can also buy transparent sheets for windows at Mitre 10 and Bunnings. 
  • Moisture management and ventilation. Mould loves damp, still air. You should encourage airflow through the house, hot spots like the bathroom and kitchen should at least have windows that open and ideally an extractor fan, clothes dryers should be vented to outside. Cover pots with lids and keep the extractor fan on when boiling water. Avoid drying clothes inside this can release 2-5L of water into the air. After you shower close the bathroom door and open the window. Leave gaps between the furniture and walls/curtains to allow airflow and use a bed base. If you find any mould spray it with a solution of 30% water, 70% vinegar (you can pick one for free from OUSA Student Support) leave it for 30 seconds and wipe it away with a cloth.  Ventilate well everyday, open the house right up for 15 minutes so the damp air inside can be replaced with the dryer air outside. The best time to do this is usually in the morning when the air is dryer.
  • Effective heating. There are lots of different heaters out there and they're all good for different things, check out energy wise for the pros and cons of different types of heating. Heating your flat properly will help to prevent you from getting sick in winter and doesn't have to be too expensive if done properly. Use of heaters is also something you could talk about in your flatting agreement.

Healthy Communication

Here are some of the most common and ineffective ways of dealing with flat problems. If this is you or someone you know in this list it might be time to break free and get some stuff out in the open before someone gets hurt.

The Bottler (passive aggressive): Quietly seething about the problem, slamming doors, personalizing everything that’s said and avoiding the person that’s bothering you, relying on indirect communication

Gang mentality: Getting some of the flatmates onside so there is someone to bitch with. This often leads to bitching becoming a form of entertainment and gossip, with daily instalments passed between the gang but never addressed with the person in question to achieve a positive outcome.

Too polite to cause a bother: Waiting for the problem to miraculously sort itself out, even though no-one else knows you are having a problem.

Bullying: playing practical jokes, testing the other person’s limits, using your intuitive knowledge of what’s annoying to wind someone up.

None of these methods actually let the person who’s bothering you know what’s wrong or what they can do about it. Most people can actually come up with creative solutions so long as there is open communication and goodwill. Approach issues as things that need to be worked on together, not everyone else’s problem. Use respectful language and “I” statements (eg., “I feel this could be improved by” rather than “YOU need to do this!”) and avoid placing full blame on the other person.

If you’re struggling with effective communication or reaching a resolution, or things have gone too far and you’re experiencing a flat fallout, come and talk to OUSA Student Support.

Flatting violence

Physical and psychological abuse is never okay. Sometimes people minimise domestic violence in a flatting situation or don’t see it as “domestic violence” because it is happening among peers rather than in a family setting. Unfortunately, violence and bullying does occur in some flats and can have a serious impact on those affected. If you are concerned for yourself or someone else you can speak to an OUSA Student Support Advocate or the University Proctor. We will talk through an appropriate course of action with you and will not take drastic action without discussing it with you first. We may be able to help arrange emergency accommodation, collecting belongings, safety escorts, check ins and getting out of your tenancy, among other things.

Sexual Violence

If you or a flatmate have been affected by sexual violence, OUSA Student Support and other support services on and off campus, such as Te Whare Tawharau (https://www.otago.ac.nz/te-whare-tawharau) and Rape Crisis Dunedin (24/7 support line:03 474 1592, email: support@rapecrisisdunedin.org.nz) can help you get through. These services are free and confidential, and you never have to disclose more than you are comfortable with. OUSA Student Support can also help you with special considerations around your study, financial hardship that might have arisen due to the incident, and arrangements around moving out if you no longer feel safe at your current flat.

Mental Health

Struggling with mental health can be difficult when you’re flatting. It can also be hard supporting a flatmate who is experiencing mental distress. OUSA Student Support is available to help with whatever wellbeing concerns you may be facing. Drop in if you just need a safe space and a cup of tea. We can lend a compassionate, non-judgmental ear if you want to talk, and help you navigate any hurdles you might be experiencing. We may also be able to help you access free, ongoing counselling.

Student Health also offers free same day mental health appointments, and the University Chaplains are here for anyone who needs to talk.

Queer Friendly Flatting

Here are some tips for being a queer friendly flat, and a good friend:

  1. Gender neutral language If you’re moving in with flatmates who you don’t know very well use gender-neutral language, such as “do you have a partner?” Hearing that you haven’t made assumptions will help flatmates to talk openly about their sexuality.
  2. Confidentiality If a flatmate ‘comes out’ to you, thank them for trusting you. Is this person telling everyone or just you? Ask them about who knows and reassure them you will keep what they say to yourself. Some people come out to everyone, all at once, others come out in gradual stages.
  3. Pronouns If you’re unsure about a flatmate’s gender, ask them how they identify their gender or what pronouns they use. Another option is to simply use ‘they/them’ pronouns until you get to know them. Listen to the language they use to describe themselves and reflect that back.
  4. Be consistent If a flatmate comes out as trans and asks you to start using a different pronoun, do your best to use the correct pronoun all the time, even when they’re not in the room. It’s easy to slip up at first, but if you do just correct yourself and carry on.
  5. Privacy Check in with your flatmate about how you can respect their privacy as some trans folk experience varying levels of discomfort with their body.
  6. Finding stuff out It’s great to be curious about another person’s identities, but try not to be intrusive. Make sure your flatmate is ok with answering questions. If you lack knowledge about a flatmate’s identity and feel uncomfortable asking questions talk with us at OUSA Queer Support!
  7. Humour Avoid using slurs or making bad jokes about people's sexuality or gender, even if the particular group you're joking about isn't represented in your flat.
  8. Belonging If your flat is mostly made up of queer students be prepared for cis-gender or straight flatmates to feel a bit left out at times. Remember we all come from different backgrounds and bring with us differing levels of knowledge and experience.
  9. Being supportive Many people experience mental health issues, and rates are high in the rainbow community. Let flatmates know you’re happy to lend an ear. If a flatmate’s experiencing an issue beyond your abilities, support them to seek professional help. Have an open discussion about what problems might arise and strategies for ensuring everyone feels supported and safe in their home.
  10. FUN Plan a fun flat outing to queer events such OUSA Queerest Tea Party or UniQ’s XO party.


  • 24.6% of LGBTQIA+ participants were ‘out to everyone’.
  • 50.3% of LGBTQIA+students had concealed their sexual identity or gender identity to avoid intimidation.
  • 24.9% of LGBTQIA+ participants experienced harassment on campus compared to 5.9% of heterosexual and binary gender students.

head to OUSA Queer Support for more information

Saving on food

  • If it suits you and your flatmates, cook shared meals. This is a good way to bond with your flatmates, means less work for you as you don’t have to cook every night, and minimises food waste.
  • If you do cook alone, plan out your meals for the week. Cook enough so that you have leftovers that you can take for lunch or eat the following night, or freeze them for another time.
  • When you’re shopping, look at the price by weight (usually written under the actual price) to compare value.
  • Look up the best way to store each food item online to maximise its lifespan.
  • $3 lunch is served Monday to Friday from 12pm to 2pm at our Clubs and Societies Centre. There are options to purchase additional food items like butter chicken (available Friday only), samosa's, bliss balls, apple crumble or chocolate pudding
  • Free breakfast is available at the Clubs and Societies centre over the exam period/s. Kicking off from 8.30am weekdays there's toast, a variety of spreads, freshly cooked porridge and on the odd occasion cereal, continental breakfast, and sometimes a cooked breaky. There is also a selection of hot drinks. Breakfast is also available on Wednesday mornings during the semester. Find out more at OUSA Recreation.


Here are some apps and websites that can help you make the most out of your money:

Pak n Save https://www.paknsave.co.nz/recipes has some great budgeting advice and recipes.

Countdown has a good budgeting section on their website as as well as their own app. They also have recipe ideas for feeding 4 people under $15. https://www.countdown.co.nz/food-hub/feed-four-for-15/about-feed-four-for-15

PriceSpy has an app and website that allows consumers to compare prices from different retailers to help find the best bargain. Type in the product name (or simply scan the barcode if you have the app) to see a list of options, product reviews and the nearest retailer. https://pricespy.co.nz/ 

Other useful apps

Sidechef is helpful if you’re a relatively inexperienced cook. It has useful step by step recipe guides and search tools with filters based on ingredients, diet or cuisine type. It also helps you plan your weekly means and shopping lists. https://www.sidechef.com/ 

EatingWell Healthy in a Hurry focuses on traditional meals that can be prepared in 45 minutes or less, complete with nutritional information. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.amphetamobile.eatingwell&hl=en


Don't forget if you have any worries, hassles, or concerns, with your flat, landlord, flatmates, or pretty much anything else head in to OUSA Student Support