Visitor Accommodation Frequently Asked Questions

Check out the questions we've already been asked on the proposed changes to Visitor Accommodation.  

If you have a question that hasn't already been answered, ask it here.

When will the proposed rules have legal effect?

The proposed rules will not have legal effect until decisions are issued on submissions. It is anticipated that the proposed rules will have legal effect in 9-12 months but they may not be fully operative for an additional 12 months or possibly longer.

Until the proposed rules have legal effect, you can establish a new business or continue to operate an existing visitor accommodation business in accordance with the current rules. Applications for resource consents will focus on the current provisions until the proposed rules have legal effect.


I have a house in Shotover Country and regularly rent a room on Airbnb.  Will I still be able do this under the proposed rules?

The proposed rules do not apply to Shotover Country at this time. The Proposed District Plan chapter relating to the Shotover Country Special Zone will form part of the 4th stage of the District Plan Review which will be notified during 2019. The current rules therefore continue to apply to Shotover County at this time.


I own a second home at Jacks Point and only visit Queenstown every couple of months.  How do I go about renting my property for visitor accommodation while I’m not using it?

Under the proposed rules you could continue to rent your property for up to 28 days per year consisting of no more than 3 lets.

If you intend to exceed this, you’ll need a resource consent.  However in Jacks Point, (as is the case with other lower intensity residential zones) exceeding the 28 day, 3 let threshold would trigger the need for a ‘non-complying’ resource consent which is likely to be difficult to obtain.    


I own properties in Queenstown that are currently registered as Holiday Homes and are rented regularly. I’m even paying extra rates to do this.   Can I still operate my business under the proposed rules?

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.


I live in Wanaka and have a self-contained unit out the back of my property.    How often could I rent it out under the proposed rules?

Short term letting of rooms in a sleep out or house to guests can be a permitted activity all year round under the proposed rules as a Homestay.  The proposed rules require any residential flat to be occupied in order to qualify as a permitted ’Homestay’ i.e it must also be occupied for residential purposes.

Alternatively, it could be let out as ‘Residential Visitor Accommodation’ for up to 28 days per year consisting of no more than 3 lets as a permitted activity.

The proposed rules do not apply if you are letting the unit out to a tenant for 3 months or more (for instance, by renting it to seasonal workers) because the visitor accommodation rules will only apply to short term accommodation, which is defined by the district plan as less than 3 months.


I live in Arrowtown and am keen to rent out my house while I’m away on holiday?  Will this still be okay under the proposed rules?

Yes, absolutely.   As long as you only rent it for no more than 28 days per year consisting of no more than three separate lets.   


I read in an email that I’ll need a certificate of compliance to keep renting out my house on BookaBach – what is that and how do I get one? 

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.

You can obtain a Certificate of Compliance using the general ‘Resource Consent Application Form 9’ from Just tick the box indicating that you’re applying for a Certificate of Compliance.

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.

I read that an existing use certificate will allow me to keep renting my house out with Holidayhomes – what is that and how do I get one?

An Existing Use Certificate serves a similar purpose to a Certificate of Compliance but requires you demonstrate the following:

  1. Your activity was lawfully established (i.e is operating as a permitted activity) and;
  2. The effects of the activity are the same or similar in character, intensity, and scale to those when the activity was established and;
  3. The activity has not been discontinued for a continuous period of more than 12 months.    

You can apply for an Existing Use Certificate using a specific application form that can be obtained from

Whether or not you have an Existing Use Certificate , anyone operating residential visitor accommodation businesses will either:

  • have existing use rights to continue to operate as a permitted activity,
  • have an existing consent to operate, or

Neither situation is met and as a consequence they need to:

  • immediately reconfigure what they do to fit within the current permitted activity rules and/or
  • get a resource consent under the current rules.


We recently bought a property up in Fernhill and I’m hoping to rent out a couple of the rooms to help supplement the mortgage.   If the proposed rules go through will I be able to do this? 

Yes, as long as you are living in the property, you can rent out extra rooms as often as you like because this would be a Homestay activity. However, there are some limits you need to comply with:

  • Host no more than five guests at any one time
  • Provide 1 carpark per bedroom being let out
  • Ensure there are less than 8 traffic movements a day and no heavy vehicles such as tour buses associated with the activity. 

If you want to exceed any of these limits you will need to obtain resource consent.


I already have a resource consent to rent my property for visitor accommodation – will my business be affected?

No.  If you continue to comply with the conditions of your resource consent you can continue to operate even when the rules change.   If you sell your property the new owner will be able to continue operating the visitor accommodation because the resource consent will continue to apply to your site irrespective of a change of ownership.


I live in Hawea and am planning an extended holiday to South America.  Will I be able to supplement my trip by renting my property while I’m away? 

Most of Hawea is located within the ‘Township Zone’ as is the case in Kingston, Glenorchy, Luggate, Albert Town, Makarora and Kinloch. The proposed rules do not apply to the Township Zone at this time. The Proposed District Plan chapter relating to the Township Zone will form part of the 3rd stage of the District Plan Review which will be notified during 2019. The current rules therefore continue to apply to Township Zone at this time.


What zones do the proposed rules apply to at this time?

The proposed rules apply to the following zones at this time:

  • Low, Medium and High Density Residential Zones
  • Arrowtown Residential Historic Management Zone
  • Large Lot Residential Zone
  • Business Mixed Use Zone
  • Rural Zone
  • Rural Residential and Rural Lifestyle Zone
  • Gibbston Character Zone
  • Jacks Point Special Zone
  • Waterfall Park Special Zone
  • Millbrook Special Zone
  • Wakatipu Basin Rural Amenity Zone (including the Wakatipu Basin Lifestyle Precinct)