The scheme

The STARS (Student Tenancy Accommodation Rating Scheme) website is a voluntary scheme that allows students to make informed decisions about what sort of home they rent as well as promoting good management practice and high standards among Dunedin's student landlords. There are a lot of good landlords in Dunedin and this website allows their good management to be acknowledged.

The STARS ratings are based on information provided by landlords on:

  • Fire safety
  • Security
  • Insulation
  • Heating and ventilation

Landlords provide accurate information about their rental properties in good faith and are allocated a STARS rating for each property. STARS will offer landlords who provide quality housing a market advantage as high ratings will impact on the choices students make.

The project was conceived in May 2009, following an environmental assessment of housing stock in Dunedin's Tertiary Precinct. A pilot was launched in 2010 and in May 2012 a full review of the STARS scheme was undertaken.  The review involved a survey of landlords; survey of tenants in STARS properties; review of all feedback received since the scheme’s inception; and interviews with key stakeholders. 

The operation of the scheme, landlord's questionnaire and functionality of the website have been modified and improved to reflect the recommendations of the review and your feedback. We thank you for supporting this project as it develops.

Who is STARS?

STARS is managed by the University Accommodation Office and was developed in partnership with the Dunedin City Council, the University of Otago and the Otago Polytechnic. These partners have an interest in improving the standard of student housing in Dunedin as there are tangible benefits for students, landlords and the city.STARS is a project undertaken by the Tertiary Precinct Planning Group. Input has been sought from project stakeholders including student associations, property investors and the Real Estate Institute of NZ.

We value your collaboration on this scheme. Let us know if you find any gaps in our information as the STARS website will continue to evolve to ensure we provide an efficient and useful service to both students and landlords. Contact us by using our online feedback form or by calling or visiting:

Accommodation Office, University of Otago,
109 St David Street, Dunedin
Tel +64 3 479 5100
Office hours: Mon - Fri 8.30am - 5.00pm

How does STARS work?

The STARS rating for each property is automatically generated by the landlord's responses to an online questionnaire about the property. Each question is weighted differently, giving an overall impression of the quality of the property and a rating out of five stars. When you search a property, you can see the actual responses to the questionnaire, enabling you to make an informed decision based on what is important to you.

Landlords can provide additional information on their property's features.  Although this is not included in the rating, it enhances available information for prospective tentants.

STARS is a good faith scheme and does not provide a forum for complaints about landlords. If information is inaccurate, there is a feedback section on the property's details page where you can let us know. We will give the landlord the opportunity to respond or fix the issue within five working days before posting the feedback on the website.

What are the stars worth?

When a landlord completes a questionnaire, their total score is calculated and then checked where it falls against the range of percentages below.

  • 1 star - 0 - 15%
  • 2 stars - 16 - 35%
  • 3 stars - 36 - 65%
  • 4 stars - 66 - 85%
  • 5 stars - 86 - 100%

The STARS rating is then assigned to the property and all answers provided are displayed on the details page of the property.

STARS ratings can also be embedded on other websites where the property is listed and provides a link back to this website and the information held about the property.

What are the survey questions?

PDF A full copy of the survey can be downloaded in PDF form here.

Reliability of information

We do our best to keep all information up to date but it is important to remember that this is a good faith scheme and it relies on the provision of accurate information from the landlords.

Landlords can make alterations to their properties and update their STARS rating at any time. The date is displayed to show when the rating was last updated.

Properties are selected for audit by the STARS team annually. Once audited, the properties which have been audited will display as verified.