New ZealandNews

Visitor accommodation changes welcome

But rules on building consents needed

Hospitality New Zealand (HNZ) has welcomed proposed changes to consents for short-term visitor accommodation in residential areas in Christchurch but is calling for rules on building consents to be added.

Hospitality New Zealand Canterbury branch president, Peter Morrison said while he saw this as a sensible decision,  to make it an enduring policy the City Council needs to include rules and advice notes on building consents.

“They need to make it clear to anyone wanting to start a visitor accommodation activity that they will need to obtain a building consent for a change of use,” Mr Morrison said.

“The council has skirted over this issue in its decision but it must happen.”

Mr Morrison said there currently many buildings and apartments, perhaps 2000-3000, currently being used for visitor accommodation that do not have the required building consent for the change of use from residential to commercial.

“Many, if not all, of them will not have the correct fire systems and accessibility as required under the Building Act, and that is a significant liability issue for both the owners and the council in the event of a fire or earthquake that leads to injury or loss of life,” he said.

“Having the rules clear in the District Plan would greatly help address this issue.

“Motel and hotel operators are required by law to have these consents, and there is a significant disparity in how the council administers both the District Plan and the Building Act in this regard.

“It needs to be tidied up and made very clear to all concerned exactly what is expected of them.”

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