Mobile-phone app to help flat hunters

Otago Polytechnic information technology students Matt Bradley (left) and Gary MacLachlan have...
Otago Polytechnic information technology students Matt Bradley (left) and Gary MacLachlan have developed an Android mobile phone application to help students find flats. Photo by Linda Robertson.
Finding a place to call home can be a tricky business for tertiary students, but two Otago Polytechnic computer whizzes hope to ease the burden as the great migration and annual student flat hunt begins.

Third-year bachelor of information technology students Gary MacLachlan and Matt Bradley are taking the Dunedin City Council's student tenancy accommodation rating scheme (Stars) and turning it into an Android mobile phone application.

Mr MacLachlan said the application would give students access to information about rental properties in the student area, which would allow them to make informed decisions about what sort of home they wanted to rent.

Accurate information about rental properties would be provided voluntarily by landlords in good faith, and the properties would be given a star rating (from 1-5) based on the property's fire safety, insulation, heating and ventilation, and general amenities.

Mr Bradley said flat hunters who looked at rental properties and found conditions did not reflect information landlords had submitted, could leave comments about the standard of the premises.

Mr MacLachlan said the application was designed to make flat hunting quicker and easier for students.

"Just because a flat looks good on the outside, it's not necessarily the same on the inside.

"This application allows you to go on to the next flat without having to do more investigation."

It was hoped the Android application would be available for download by the end of October, he said.

The duo recently completed another mobile-phone application for the Dunedin City Council called Fix-it.

It allows Dunedin residents to notify council staff of anything unsightly, annoying or just plain dangerous around the city, and has been popular with users.

Mr MacLachlan said the application was now being looked at for implementation by the Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council in Liverpool, England.

"There is certainly interest in the United Kingdom," he said.


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