Bach Owner FAQs

What does the plan change propose?

The plan change proposes some simple rules to help to address issues that have been occurring with holiday rentals.  These proposed changes would require holiday rental operators to apply for resource consent if:

  • More than 12 guests stay on site per night; or
  • If there is inadequate car parking (one car park needs to be provided for every four guests)

The intention of this change is to address issues with houses being let to large groups with associated noise issues (late night parties), issues with inadequate car parking, and a general change in the character of an area where houses are let to large groups.

As proposed, the majority of existing holiday rental operators cater for 12 or fewer guests.  So long as there is adequate car parking these operators will not require resource consent, and will not be affected by the plan change.

Note, the changes are only proposed at this stage.  The final rules may well differ to what is currently being proposed. 

What is a holiday rental?

Holiday rentals are houses that are let out on websites like Book-a-Bach, Air BnB, and Holiday Houses. 

They do not include properties where the owner or manager is resident on site.  For example, if you are letting a room to guests through Air BnB, as opposed to the whole house, and you live at the house, you would not be classed as a Holiday Rental. 

The proposed definition for Holiday Rentals is as follows:

The use of a residential building, including temporary use of an established household unit, by paying guests, for short term holiday accommodation where the owner or manager is not resident on the site.


I currently let the house for more than 12 guests – what are my options?

At this stage the changes are only proposed. And as such, you don’t need to change anything. 

Once the changes come into effect (and assuming they do) then the options will be:

  1. Reduce guest numbers to meet the performance standards (e.g. 12 or fewer guests), and ensure that there is adequate car parking on site (one car park for every 4 guests catered for). OR
  2. Apply for resource consent.

Where resource consent is required Council will consider the effects on neighbours.  The plan change proposes specific assessment criteria to guide Councils decision.

Do I need to install firewalls, or provide disabled access as a result of the proposed changes?

No!

Requirements such as firewalls and disabled access are managed under the Building Code. The proposed rules do not affect the Building Code requirements.

If you are more generally interested in the building code requirements please feel free to contact Council's Building Control team.  

Council's Building Control Manager has explained the Building Code requirements as follows: 'The need to upgrade the building under the Building Code would only become a requirement if the building were to be subjected to a change of use. In the context of holiday rental accommodation this would be triggered if the building were to be let to more than one group or family at a time e.g. the upper level and lower level were let separately so there was no social cohesion.  If this was the case, then the building would be governed by the change of use regulations from the Building Act and may need to be upgraded to ensure it was safe and had adequate sanitary facilities.'


Don’t I have ‘existing use rights’?

Generally speaking, when changes are proposed to the District Plan that rules don’t apply to existing situations as the existing operation has ‘Existing Use Right’.  However, existing use rights only apply when an activity is ‘legally established’.  In this case, under both the current and previous District Plan (2006) resource consent was required for ‘Tourist Accommodation’ and as such there are no existing use rights.

Neighbour FAQs

Why has Council chosen to use 12 as a limit on the number of guests?

The plan change has proposed a limit of 12 guests (along with the car parking and noise standards).

The intention of the plan change is to protect residential character and amenity – and the limit of 12 guests is intended to achieve this.

However, there is no perfect number that will ensure that there are never any issues. 

We have used 12 as this is similar to the Permitted Activity rules for a Bed and Breakfast – 8 guests + the family living on the property.

This also gives flexibility for holiday rentals to accommodate two families travelling together. 

This is a Commercial Activity in Residential Area

The District Plan allows for Commercial Activities to occur within Residential areas, for example, Bed and Breakfasts, hair dressers and beauticians.  However, the size and scale of Commercial Activities is controlled to try and ensure that residential amenity is maintained. 

This is one of the key questions that Council is trying to answer with the plan change – what are the appropriate limitations to place on holiday rentals to ensure residential amenity is maintained.

There will be a variety of views on this and submissions appreciated.

Rates

What Rates do Owners of Holiday Rentals Pay?

Please note, the rating policy is not part of the plan change.

If a holiday home is let for short-term periods of more than 100 days per annum Commercial Rates Apply.

The Rating Policy has been in place since 2009. 

If you are currently or likely to exceed the 100 day threshold please feel free to contact Council’s Rates Department who can provide you with more information. Phone: 07 348 4199 or email info@rotorualc.nz.