When writing a flatmate wanted ad, you want to make sure you attract people who you think would be a good fit for your place. To help with this, you’re able to add details to the “ideal flatmate” section of the ad.
There are positive characteristics or qualities that are great to include, like “pays rent on time” or “good sense of humour,” but sometimes there are less-positive things which may not be so great to include.
The Human Rights Act 1993 outlines what is and isn’t legal when it comes to discrimination. One example of when it is legal to discriminate is in instances of shared residential accommodation. This means the Act allows you to specify that you’d like a flatmate with certain characteristics, which could discriminate against people who don’t share those characteristics.
We want you to find the right person for your flat, but we also want to ensure you do this responsibly and respectfully. This can help make sure a request for a particular type of flatmate doesn’t come across as a negative statement against a group of people. Here are some tips on how to craft your flatmate wanted ad in the best way possible:
1. Use positive and inclusive statements rather than negative ones
Writing what you’re looking for is better than saying what you’re not looking for. For example, “No crocodiles” could be better written as “Would prefer humans”. You might still get enquiries from alligators and geckos by writing “No crocodiles”, but writing “Would prefer humans” leaves less confusion, and doesn’t sound so harsh.
2. Say what you want, rather than relying on a stereotype or generalisation
You may ask for a professional, but do you really just want a flatmate who pays rent on time? You may say “no students”, but really just want a person who is responsible, pays rent, cleans up after themselves, and keeps normal ‘business’ hours. Identify the core characteristics you’re after and your ad will be far more effective in attracting the perfect flatmate.
3. Err on the side of caution
If in doubt, leave it out. As we’ve said, focus on positive and inclusive statements.
If you’re looking for a flat and come across an ad that goes against the standard you expect from the Trade Me community, you’re welcome to report the listing by clicking on the “Community Watch” button at the bottom of the listing.