The Trade Me user who posted the listing did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In its advice for listings, Trade Me encourages users to use positive and inclusive statements, which say what they are seeking in a flatmate rather than what they do not want.

The Human Rights Act makes it unlawful to discriminate on the basis of sex, marital status, religious belief, ethical belief, ethnicity/colour/race, disability, age, political belief, employment status, family status, sexual orientation or family violence experience.

There are further exceptions in the law for hostels, clubs, schools and retirement villages, which can limit their accommodation to people of the same sex, marital status or religious or ethnic belief.

The Human Rights Commission advised renters or landlords to be explicit about what qualities they wanted in a flatmate. Vague language like “professional couple” risked being discriminatory on the grounds of employment and marital status, it said on its website.