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Further clarification on Visitor Accommodation rules

QLDC provides further clarification on proposed Visitor Accommodation rules

Queenstown Lakes District Council unanimously voted to proceed with public notification of revised rules for Residential Visitor Accommodation, at its extraordinary meeting yesterday.

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult said the change in approach is not intended to remove existing visitor accommodation from the district, but aimed at increasing the available housing stock for longer-term rentals.

“We believe the proposals reflect the desires of a significant portion of our community who don’t want to see their neighbourhood becoming a commercial accommodation operation. We are not against AirBNB or other visitor accommodation booking sites and acknowledge they play an important role in providing short term beds for people visiting the district. But we need to ensure our own people are housed and that short term accommodation is available in the most appropriate locations,” Mayor Boult said.

The proposed changes would benefit those who wish to supplement their income by hosting guests in their home, known as a ‘homestay’.

“What we’re proposing for homestays means that if you’ve got a spare room or self-contained flat and you’d like to rent it out, you can continue to do so as often as you like, as long as you’re there and there are fewer than five guests,” Mayor Boult said.

Anyone wishing to host more than five guests or if they do not live at the property would require a resource consent. However, properties within the low, medium, Arrowtown residential heritage and large lot residential zones are unlikely to be granted consent. Under this scenario, properties within the high and visitor accommodation sub zones could apply for, and continue to operate with a restricted discretionary resource consent.

New rules are also proposed for those wishing to rent their entire property for visitor accommodation. The proposed rules allow up to 28 days short-term rental a year with no more than three separate lets.

“We’re not trying to stop people from renting out their home when they’re away on holiday. The proposed rules still allow for that. It’s important people realise that we aren’t taking away existing rights. These proposals won’t affect anyone with existing resource consent for visitor accommodation.” Mayor Boult said.

But absentee owners, anyone who purchases a property with the primary intention of renting it as visitor accommodation, or those who wish to rent a property out more often than three times a year and 28 days, will need a resource consent. Under this scenario, properties within the high density zone or visitor accommodation sub zone, will be able to apply for a restricted discretionary resource consent and continue operation. However, if the property is in the low, medium, Arrowtown residential historic or large lot residential zones, a consent is unlikely to be granted.

“We are regularly hearing that people feel uncomfortable with their suburbs housing more and more short term guests. They are effectively living next to a hotel and are concerned that their residential areas are turning into de-facto commercial zones,” he said.

The proposed rules will be formally notified on 23 November, along with proposed changes to rules for signage, earthworks, transport, open space and recreation areas and Wakatipu Basin land-use. Submissions will be open for three months, until 23 February 2018 and will be followed by a further submission process then hearings by independent commissioners.

“This is a public process so we encourage everyone who is affected to make a submission,” Mayor Boult said.


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