Supporting communities  |  6 Dec 2019

Options for managing Christchurch’s growing home-share accommodation sector will be outlined to City Councillors next week.

Council staff have prepared a report for the Urban Development and Transport Committee which recommends that Council begin engaging with the public on several different options for regulating home-share accommodation including potential changes to the District Plan rules.

The District Plan change options the Council are exploring are not aimed at people who rent out a spare room in their house.

They are aimed at those who rent out entire properties in residential or rural zones.

Under current District Plan rules, property owners in most residential zones are only permitted to rent out entire properties as accommodation if they have a resource consent. In rural zones, whole properties can only be rented out without resource consent if they are part of a farm stay or associated with a rural tourism activity.

However, there are a number of current listings that do not comply with the rules and it is difficult to police because there is no register of home-share accommodation providers.

Council staff have investigated a number of options for managing home-share accommodation through the District Plan. They include:

  • Maintaining the current rules (restricting whole home listings in residential and rural zones).
  • Enabling whole home listings in residential and rural zones for only a specified number of days a year.
  • Enabling whole home listings in some areas but not others (for example, not allowing them in residential zones within the central city where there is currently a high number of home-shares compared to permanent residences).
  • Enabling whole listings that meet specific criteria (for example, they have adequate parking and are not a multi-unit dwelling).
  • Enabling whole home listings everywhere.

“The report recommends that we begin engaging with the public on all of these options so we can get initial feedback from the community on which approach they favour as well as to better understand the extent and significance of the issues in Christchurch,’’ says Council Head of Planning and Strategic Transport David Griffiths.

“Christchurch is not alone in grappling with this issue. A number of cities around the world have moved to review regulation of home-share accommodation.

“Most are looking to restrict whole unit listings to a specified number of days – generally between 30 and 120 - and to require hosts to register with the local authority. Our Council has been lobbying for legislation to enable a registration system but there is no certainty at this time about when or whether a registration system will be introduced,’’ Mr Griffiths says.

Home-share accommodation has grown phenomenally in Christchurch over the past few years, due largely to the popularity of online booking platforms like Bookabach and Airbnb.

ChristchurchNZ estimates that in the past three years the percentage of accommodation guest nights taken up by Airbnb and HomeAway/Bookabach guests has jumped from less than 1 per cent to about 27 per cent.

Read the report.