Renting Guide

Questions to ask new flatmates

“Are you a nice human?”

Once your flatmates wanted ad starts to bring in prospective flatties for viewings, it’s on you to begin shortlisting your preferred candidates.

We know, it sounds a bit brutal, but ultimately you want to end up with the new flatmate(s) who’ll be the best fit for your home.

One of the best ways to do this is by asking some simple questions. Don’t worry, we’re not suggesting a job interview style grilling – this is just about you learning a bit about them, and them about you.

Here are our suggested questions to ask potential flatmates.

Questions to ask new flatmates

1. How long have you lived in shared flats?

Of course, we’re not saying that you should pass on a potential flattie simply because they’ve not flatted before, or they’re relatively new to it.

However, if this is the case, you might expect a period of adjustment. As anyone who’s shared a flat will know, it can take a while to get to used to waiting for your turn in the kitchen, scheduling your morning shower or pitching into a chore routine.

It can take a while to adjust to flatsharing life.

2. What do you do for work?

This is a good flatmate interview question for a couple of reasons:

Firstly, it’s interesting. You’re wanting to get to know this person, and what they do every day is a big piece of that puzzle. Who knows, they may be in a similar industry, providing an immediate talking point.

Secondly, it’s important to understand their schedule. If everyone currently living in the flat works standard 9-5 hours, and this prospective flatmate works nights, you might experience problems.

Everyone wants a good night’s sleep, and both you and they might struggle due to those different hours. Also, if you’re on such different schedules, you won’t be able to socialise as easily as you might with someone else.

3. What do you do in your downtime?

If they answer this question with “house parties and 3AM drum solos”, and your house isn’t that vibe, you’ll be glad you asked. On the other hand, if that sounds like a good time, you may just have found your ideal flattie.

Bonus tip: if your flat is keen on the odd group activity (for example, a shared meal, movie night or hike) it’s worth mentioning! This can be a major drawcard if you think the person you’re talking to could be the perfect fit.

Perhaps a drummer was exactly what your flat band was missing. Perhaps not....

4. Do you have any pets?

Your flatmates wanted ad should specify whether or not your rental property allows furry friends. However, sometimes wires get crossed, so it’s worth asking this question to check they’ve fully understood the situation.

After all, it’d be a waste of both your and their time to decide that it’s a good fit, only for their pet pooch to end up being a deal breaker because your landlord doesn’t allow pets.

Similarly, you might want to ask whether or not they smoke, if this isn’t allowed in your rental property.

5. Do you have any questions for us?

Hopefully your flat tour and Trade Me listing will have provided all the answers they need about the property itself, rent and move in dates. However, they’re making a choice too, so they’ll probably want to ask you a few questions in return.