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Will resource consent be needed to operate an Airbnb?

Will resource consent be needed to operate an Airbnb?

Will resource consent be needed to operate an Airbnb?

Monday 28 September, 2020

Homeowners renting out homes on Airbnb or similar platforms in Christchurch will have to apply for resource consent if proposed changes to the District Plan announced by Christchurch City Council go ahead. The change doesn’t affect people renting out a room, only visitor accommodation where the host of the property isn’t in residence.

The proposed change means that anyone renting out their home for short-term visitor accommodation will now need to apply for resource consent. The Council can’t decline consent if the home will be rented out for less than 60 nights per year because this is a controlled activity, but Council can impose conditions on the consent it grants.  If a home is to be rented out for between 61 to 180 nights of the year for visitor accommodation, resource consent is required as a discretionary activity.  This means that the Council can consider a wide range of environmental effects in deciding whether to grant or decline consent, including impacts on neighbours such as noise, traffic movements and access.

If the home is to be used as visitor accommodation for more than 180 nights a year, it will now be a non-complying activity, meaning that the Council can only grant consent if the environmental effects are minor or if the use is not contrary to the District Plan. In rural zones, using a home for visitor accommodation for up to 180 nights a year is a permitted activity for which no resource consent is required.

What does this mean for Airbnb?

The proposed changes follow a successful appeal to the Environment Court against a decision by Christchurch City Council refusing to grant consent to a homeowner wanting to rent out her home on Airbnb. The Council’s main concern is to respond to, or prevent, issues caused by significant growth in Airbnb properties in Christchurch.

This approach mirrors that taken around the globe by cities such as Paris, Barcelona, and Santa Monica, which have all introduced restrictions on Airbnb listings in order to limit the shift of properties from long term rental to short term visitor accommodation, and the consequent effects on permanent residents of those cities. However, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have seen a significant reduction in the number of visitors travelling and using Airbnb accommodation, and accordingly, a shift back to providing long term accommodation is underway.

Both Auckland Council and Queenstown Lakes District Council have already introduced new rules and higher fees for short term accommodation. It remains to be seen whether more councils will follow suit in light of the drastic reduction in the number of overseas visitors to New Zealand.


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