Resource consent, short-term accommodation approvals and visitor accommodation consent- “why are they relevant when it comes to renting out my property?” some may ask. Most importantly WHAT ARE THEY?
We sat down with a local expert on the topic Richard who works at ‘Pragmatic Planning’ here in Queenstown, to ask him all of the questions you want answered! Richard has extensive experience in the matter of short-term accommodation consenting, having successfully secured 170+ resource consents for clients over the past several years.
Pragmatic Planning are a ‘Planning Consultant Company’ that LOVES to get you the resource consents that YOU need from the Queenstown Lakes District Council – to do the things that YOU need to do. Whether it’s using your property for short term visitor accommodation, building your new home, subdividing or much more. They service Queenstown, Wanaka, Hawea, Glenorchy, Kingston – and everywhere in-between.
Q- What’s your role as part of this business?
A- Essentially to provide advice to the client, including before they purchase a property, so that I can cover all the bases. I also discuss resource consent requirements with the client and help them through the process of preparing and making the application. If the client wishes for us to do so we can also help by consulting with their neighbours (this is necessary when applying for short term accommodation consent).
Q- What is involved if someone wishes to use their property for short-term accommodation for less than 91 nights/yr (or less than 43 nights/yr in Jacks Point and Hanley’s Farm)?
A- There are a number of standards to be met to be eligible to ‘unlock’ the 90 nights/yr (or max 42 nights/yr in Jacks Point & Hanleys Farm), and the property needs to be registered as a holiday home with Council. These standards include maximum guest numbers (depending on the size of the property); max one group at a time; no heavy vehicles; no guest use of outdoor living areas during night-time hours + related signage installed on the property; and rubbish/recycling bins to be only left out on the street on collection day. The registration application/process also requires the details of the appointed local property manager to be supplied to Council, and neighbours served formal notice of the activity.
Q- What is involved if someone wishes to use their property for short-term accommodation for more than this permitted allowance?
A- A resource consent application is required. The first step is to consult with neighbours (if necessary), then prepare the full application documentation (several documents including plans of the house/apartment, visitor accommodation management plan, assessment of effects on the environment, and more. We then submit this to the Council and work with the Council while the application is being processed. Often further information is requested which we need to respond to. The final part of the process is to negotiate the conditions of the consent to ensure they are fair and reasonable.
Once resource consent is granted, there are usually several conditions that need to be met before short-term accommodation can commence, such as serving notice on neighbours and installing signage.
Q- Can you summarise the new 90 night allowance?
A- In summary most properties are allowed up to 90 days without consent. However, this excludes Jacks Point & Hanley’s Farm the allowance in these areas is a lot smaller- currently only 42 nights in a year. Also, if your property is a unit title you need to check if any other units have used up the 90-night allowance – as the 90-night exemption applies to the whole unit title complex, and not all units individually. For all areas you need to register through the council website and undertake the work required to unlock this (such as installing signage & letter drop to neighbours).
Q- Where is it difficult to get consent in Queenstown?
A- Shotover Country, Jacks Point and Hanley’s Farm are all difficult these days. However, in areas like Lake Hayes, Frankton, Queenstown Hill, Arrowtown, Kelvin Heights and Fernhill it is a bit easier. 180-day consents are possible with a good application!
Q- Is there a maximum number of nights allowed? Is it likely to get 365 now?
A- With recent changes to the District Plan rules, there has been a slight relaxation on applying for consent for more than 180. However, requesting more than 180 nights in a year can be very tricky with neighbours we have found.
We recommend doing the following before applying…
Ask your neighbours first, this saves time and helps give you a sense of direction. Be prepared for the ongoing costs, if it’s an area where they aren’t openly willing to give 365 it can get costly and a long-drawn-out process that may not result in the full year consent.
Get good advice and be realistic!
Q- Do neighbours still have a say when increasing to 180?
A- Neighbours have a massive say over anything more than 90 nights. The devil in the detail is which neighbours would Council consider affected/should have a say. Generally, it is neighbours that share a boundary with the property – but this matter is open for debate with Council and is assessed on a case-by-case basis.
Q- Do all homes, even if say you’re renting for 1 month, have to have a form of consent or 90day consent?
A- Yes – if you are short-term letting, all homes that are renting must be either registered as a holiday home (90 nights/yr or less) or hold a valid resource consent from the council. If you are renting to the same tenant for a period of greater than 3 consecutive months – that is not short-term letting, just a regular long-term tenancy.
Q- What would be your best advice for those looking into this?
A- Get advice on the rules and talk to the neighbours (very important once again) so that you are completely aware of the requirements. Also check access to the property and parking, make sure it is sufficient for unfamiliar short-term guests. We always provide free and honest advice to anyone considering undertaking short-term accommodation. It is particularly important to ask if you are considering purchasing a property – as there are some properties that are simply not suitable for short-term accommodation and are unlikely to gain resource consent.
Q- What are the costs for applying for visitor accommodation services on your own vs going through ‘Pragmatic Planning’?
A- This depends on several factors including the location and size of the property, and the number of nights for which consent is sought (usually a few thousand). Council fees would be the same.
What we can do for you is…
- Provide you with realistic and up-front advice on how to achieve short-term accommodation on the property. We always provide this advice at no charge and without any obligation.
- Prepare and structure the application for the best chance of success.
- It holds weight being a planner when applying, and Council can ‘adopt’ our applications which saves time and cost in terms of council fees.
- Provide some assistance to you with complying with the specific conditions of the consent, after it is granted.
- You can apply on your own, like anything in life. However, it can be a very time-consuming drawn-out process and specific requirements need to be met. Council are also very insistent that all applications meet the information requirements of the Resource Management Act 1991.
Q- What are the rates with the council?
A- Refer to the map online and the bottom of the following page for this information.
Council also provides guidance that when a property is used for short-term accommodation, rates will be increased (approx. 25-35% additional for up to 180 nights/yr, and up to 80% additional for 365 night/yr)
Q- Once you get consent, can you keep it for ever?
A- Most visitor accommodation resource consents are granted in perpetuity. Once the resource consent is granted, it stays with the land, so can also be used by future owners of the property. It is up to the owners if they choose to use it or not moving forward.
Q- Where or what page can you find the number of nights on the consent document?
A- You can contact me ‘Richard’ for free and I can talk you through what consent you have and what it all means. If you have a resource consent, the conditions of the consent will be in Appendix 1 (usually around pages 10-12). These conditions usually specify the number of nights/yr of short-term accommodation approved on the property.
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