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Visitor Accommodation Amnesty

Visitor Accommodation Amnesty


Property owners who are renting out their houses and holidays homes on a short term basis for visitor accommodation have until the end of May to take advantage of a QLDC amnesty before the Council starts following up on unregistered rental arrangements.

The Council wants to ensure that those who let their homes and holiday houses to short-term visitors pay their fair share of rates, while the District Plan includes rules to manage the environmental effects of visitor accommodation.

QLDC Chief Financial Officer Stewart Burns said the Council was concerned at the number of property owners who appeared to be avoiding their responsibilities. “We have evidence that some ratepayers are taking in short-term paying visitors without the correct registrations or consents.”

The Council is offering an amnesty until the end of May, to enable owners to register their properties for visitor accommodation and, if necessary, apply for the appropriate consents, or cease using their property for that purpose. From 1 June 2014, the Council would be actively enforcing the regulations.

This would include matching properties offered for short-term rent on-line and in local publications with the Council’s database of registered and consented properties. This applies to both homestays (including bed-and-breakfast establishments) and holiday homes.

Once properties are registered as a homestay or rental holiday home, their rates are assessed under the “mixed use” category, which reflects their partial use for commercial purposes. Mr Burns said that as a rule of thumb, a property’s rates would increase by about 25 percent when moving from “residential” to “mixed use”. Properties which were registered during the amnesty period would have their rates adjusted for the new rating year, from 1 July 2014.

The Council’s website has a step-through guide to help property owners understand whether they need to register or obtain a resource consent. Full details are at: http://www.qldc.govt.nz/guide_to_providing_visitor_accommodation

ENDS

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