14 Jan 2018

Flat Candy: a new place to find a sweet flatmate

From Up This Way, 10:45 am on 14 January 2018

With a lot of leases ending, it's coming into the busiest time of year on the New Zealand renting calendar. Now flat-hunters can now connect with people who have rooms available on the free website and app Flat Candy.

Finn Dinneen and Brayden Gosse of Flat Candy

Finn Dinneen and Brayden Gosse of Flat Candy Photo: Facebook / Flat Candy

Flat Candy was borne out of co-founder Finn Dinneen's frustrations trying to find a flat in Wellington a couple of years ago.

The Victoria University student says he'd be sweating a bit right now if he wasn't already in a flat.

There is talk landlords are looking at increasing rents this year in response to the student allowance going up so getting a roof over your head seems to be more and more challenging, he says.

When Finn was flat-hunting two years ago he created a personal profile on paper that he could hand out.

Flat Candy is like an online extension of this idea – a place people can create a profile with core information such as dietary requirements and sexuality that potential flatmates might want to know, Brayden says.

"It will hopefully give people a way to stand out from the crowd, show their personalities and show they're gonna be a good fit for the flat they're looking for."

"It's almost like Trade Me Property except instead of rentals, it's people," adds Finn.

People with rooms to rent browse the flatmate profiles on Flat Candy then get in touch with them through Facebook Messenger.

Up This Way Presenter Simon Morton with Flat Candy's Finn Dinneen and Brayden Gosse.

Up This Way Presenter Simon Morton with Flat Candy's Finn Dinneen and Brayden Gosse. Photo: RNZ/Shaun D Wilson

Communicating via Facebook works well for Flat Candy's target market, Brayden says.

"[Flat Candy's users] are very comfortable with using Facebook to talk to each other. Even if we did have our own chat feature they'd probably most likely go and check them out on Facebook anyway, then message them after having a look at them."

Flat Candy is entirely free at this stage, but once they've built a community Finn and Brayden say they'll look at how to add upgrades and paid features.

These will be over and above the current free service, Brayden says.

"If you're paying, you're gonna get something over and above. We don't want to remove any functionality or make the experience less than what it is now or people have to pay for it. We've seen that on other sites and that's not what we're about."

When it comes time for advertising on the site, they'll try and stick to products and services a flat-hunter might find useful, Finn says.

"It's a bit of a process, right, looking for a flat, so [we'll see] if there's a way we can incorporate anything that could help people along the way."

Flat candy is now operating around the country with most users in the central North Island.