The Department of Building and Housing’s Flatting 101 website gives an idea of typical rents in different areas. Before you move in it’s usual to pay a bond of up to four weeks’ rent as well as two weeks’ rent in advance.
For phone, internet and, sometimes, water payments (and supermarket shopping if you’re flatmates don’t insist on their own food), a good idea is to have a ‘kitty’ – a special fund to which everyone contributes the same amount. A bank account for the kitty can be set up, from which automatic payments are made.
Any number of things can be paid for from the kitty, from party supplies to the purchase or hireage of appliances (a landlord is only required to supply an oven). The tricky bit is who gets what when the flat disbands, so common sense must prevail. Read the meters regularly so you’re not hit with a big bill for which you haven’t budgeted.
An unpaid bill can affect your credit history. Whatever way you choose to pay for things it’s a good idea to keep written records of kitty payments and bills. You may be tempted not to have insurance, but consider if your landlord’s property is damaged. If you caused a fire you could be charged for the repair. You may want to be covered for personal liability.
If you’re struggling financially, call Family Budgeting Services on 0508 BUDGET for free advice.
If your problem is with your landlord, call the Department of Building and Housing’s helpline 0800 83 62 62 for advice, or 0800 737 666 for bond information.
Money planner: www.sorted.org.nz/calculators/money-planner