31 Mar 2022

A plan change aimed at managing the impacts of short-term visitor accommodation on residential and rural areas of Christchurch and Banks Peninsula has been approved.

“Online booking platforms have made it easy for people to rent out spare rooms or whole houses to out-of-town visitors on a casual basis and opened up more choices for travellers,’’ say Urban Development and Transport Chair Cr Mike Davidson.

“There are costs and benefits associated with the growth in short-term accommodation. The plan change that we have approved today aims to ensure we effectively manage the effects of short-term accommodation and the potentially negative impacts it has on residential neighbourhoods, in particular,’’ Cr Davidson says.

The Plan Change, which was first publicly notified in late September 2020, sets rules on what types of visitor accommodation can occur in the different zones of the city and under what circumstances.

In most residential and rural zones, hosted visitor accommodation for up to six guests will generally be a permitted activity, meaning the property owner will not need a resource consent if they want to rent out rooms.

In the residential zones the property owner will, however, need to keep records and have procedures in place to manage the effects of guests checking in between 10pm and 6am.

Renting out homes or units as unhosted visitor accommodation in residential zones will be a controlled activity if it is rented out for less than 60 nights a year for a maximum of six guests. That means the owner will need to apply for a resource consent, but the Council cannot decline the application. It can only put conditions on the consent.

If a house or unit in a residential zone is being rented out as short-term visitor accommodation for more than 60 nights a year and has between six and 12 guests, it becomes a discretionary activity.  That means a resource consent is required and the Council can consider environmental effects, including impacts on neighbours, such noise and traffic movements, before deciding whether to grant or decline the consent.

In circumstances where there are more than 12 guests, resource consent is required as a non-complying activity.

In rural zones, unhosted visitor accommodation is permitted provided the unoccupied property is rented out for less than 180 nights a year. If the property is rented out more than that, it will be treated as a discretionary activity and the owner will need to apply for a resource consent.

“The approach we have taken acknowledges there are benefits in using residential properties as visitor accommodation but balances that against the need to protect the amenity value of people’s neighbourhoods,’’ Cr Davidson says.

“With our borders about to reopen and international visitors set to return to Christchurch, it is timely that we are approving this Plan Change.’’

The plan change will come into effect on Monday 4 April 2022.