Some Wellington university students applying for flats are being asked if English is their first language, prompting calls for a review of the tenancy act.

The Victoria University of Wellington Student Association president Marlon Drake says it knows of "quite a few" students who are still looking for homes, on top of the stress of classes starting last week.

"We've got a lot of students who are in some pretty gnarly financial states after paying the bonds, letting fees and getting started with rent," he says.

He's heard students are still being asked how much they are willing to pay for a room and more recently, if English is their first language.


It's prompting the association to lobby for a review of the Tenancy Act.

"Asking a student if English is their first language has clearly got some pretty nasty ulterior motives there. So it's about looking at the application forms and saying actually is this okay, what is appropriate to be asking the students in a way that respects them as tenants and people."

Drake is unsure how often the question is being asked and by which landlords and property managers.

"I couldn't give you a clear answer but any sort of sight of it or mention of it is too much in our opinion," he says.

Drake says letting fees are another big problem and should be scrapped.

"Letting fees generally are quite an unfair process to put students through. We have some students who're paying $70 dollars and some paying up to $200," he says.

"And the fact is they don't have any options because they need the flat."

The association plan to voice their concerns to Finance Minister Grant Robertson within the next week.