Chances are, if you're a Queenstown Lakes holiday home owner, or considering to become one, you will have heard the many news reports about the proposed changes that Queenstown Lakes District Council recently proposed before Christmas. If it is causing concern, worry, or is downright confusing, you're not the only one feeling that way! We've been approached by a huge number of holiday home owners wanting clarity, and given we are NZ's leading holiday home management company, we felt the need to share this info and offer our help. 

 From newsroom article 'Queenstown's airbnb crackdown explained'

From newsroom article 'Queenstown's airbnb crackdown explained'

Recap - The Current Situ

You'll no doubt have read some of the news articles around the proposed restrictions that are aiming to restrict holiday home occupancy from 90 days a year, down to 28 days a year in 3 or less lets in the Queenstown Lakes area. As a company that manages nearly 200 holiday homes across the Southern Lakes area, we have heard many conflicting reports, so here's the right facts so you can take action if you are not yet registered or want to get sorted before new rules come into play!

In short, you need to get sorted now with registering your holiday home to benefit from ‘existing use’ rights!

Potential Impacts and Existing Use Rights

There are pages and pages we could write about the pros and cons of the rules QLDC are looking to implement (we've saved that for our submission to the proposal). However, on the face of it, exactly as it mentions, if you become a holiday home owner in the future, or don't have your holiday home correctly registered, you'll only be able to rent out your holiday home for up to 28 days a year, and in only 3 bookings! There is plenty to discuss with that but we cannot urge you more to check where you are currently at with your holiday home. You may have heard about 'Certificate of Compliance' or 'Existing Use Right' being thrown around. It is very confusing, but interestingly, if you are (or get) registered, you'll be protected to run your holiday home as you currently do. Here's the detail...

Pictured above - some of our Queenstown Lakes holiday homes protected by Existing Use rights...

Registered Correctly? 

If your holiday home is with a company like Bachcare, you should be fully registered and we have helped many owners with this. If you are, then you'll be able to benefit from 'existing use rights'. Very closely aligned with the 'Certificate of Compliance' mentioned above. 

A Certificate of Compliance is a legal document that confirms the right to operate as a Registered Holiday Home as a permitted activity under the current district plan but a CoC does not create development rights or provide for a business to grow beyond what is currently allowed as a permitted activity. A Certificate of Compliance can’t be issued once the proposed rules reach the stage where they require a resource consent to carry out the activity lawfully – i.e. the point where the rules have legal effect.
— QLDC Website

As you can see from the above quote taken from the QLDC website, if you get an Existing Use or Certificate of Compliance, you'll be protected to run your holiday home 'business' to run exactly the same as you are currently, regardless of what changes are made. In other words, it will only affect future holiday home owners who don't get sorted before any new rules come into legal effect. 

In other words, it will only affect future holiday home owners who don’t get sorted before any new rules come into legal effect.

To take the wording from the QLDC website. "Businesses that have been established and operated in compliance with the current rules and before the proposed changes take legal effect can operate as a permitted activity within the same ‘envelope’ for as long as they like but if the rules change, they would lose their existing use rights if the scale or nature of the activity changes, if they stop for 12 months, or if they don’t operate the business within all the current rules.

The current rules include more than the requirement to register for rates purposes. The current rules require records of the letting activity to be kept, letting to be limited to 90 nights per year, the minimum stay has to be 3 nights, and there needs to be on-site parking provided.

If you want to exceed the current permitted activity rules a resource consent can be sought, which will focus on the current provisions."

So what does this mean? Again it reinforces that you can run your holiday home under the existing rules, and can continue to do so as long as you: 

  • Don't change the nature of activity
  • Don't stop renting for more than 12 month
  • Continue to operate within the current rules (which are specified above).

Don't Be Phased!

We have had a number of potential clients calling wanting advice, worried about the proposed changes and not understanding them fully. If you are thinking of renting out your holiday home, you need to take action now so that your holiday home can operate under the current favourable and existing rules. 

Wanting More Details? We Can Help

From overall advice on your Queenstown Lakes holiday home, to helping facilitate your application and navigating all the information coming out from QLDC, you can trust us to help every step of the way. We manage over 1,700 holiday homes nationwide, and are no stranger to these types of proposals from local councils. So if you'd like to discuss your holiday home situation in more detail, our Owner Advisor for Queenstown Lakes, Paul Hibbett, would be more than happy to chat. 

Let's Get Your Queenstown Holiday Home Questions

There's never been a more pressing time to get sorted before any new restrictions come into play. Request our free info pack on how we work and manage your Queenstown Lakes property. We can answer all your questions!

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