Renters’ amnesty comes to an end

Coun­cil to scour ad­verts for com­pli­ance

Central Otago Mirror - - WANAKA NEWS - By GRANT BRYANT

A coun­cil crack­down on hun­dreds of Queen­stown and Wanaka renters farm­ing out tourist rooms on­line has net­ted 190 vol­un­tary reg­is­tra­tions as ac­com­mo­da­tion providers - and more than $100,000 for coun­cil cof­fers.

In March the Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil is­sued a three-month amnesty for those who rent ac­com­mo­da­tion to short-term vis­i­tors, but avoided cor­rect reg­is­tra­tion.

An end of May dead­line was set to en­able own­ers to reg­is­ter prop­er­ties for vis­i­tor ac­com­mo­da­tion or ap­ply for re­source con­sent, or face a shut­down by coun­cil en­forcers.

A June 1 dead­line was also set for any­one not com­ply­ing.

Al­though the move was not sparked by a spe­cific in­ci­dent, it took into ac­count the de­vel­op­ing trend of rooms or houses to rent be­ing listed on­line.

The coun­cil’s gen­eral man­ager of le­gal and reg­u­la­tory mat­ters Scott Car­ran said al­though the en­force­ment dead­line had now been in oper­a­tion for more than a month, the coun­cil was seek­ing to work with property own­ers.

‘‘Now that the amnesty pe­riod has ended, our staff will be check­ing ac­com­mo­da­tion web­sites and ad­ver­tise­ments to check that all the prop­er­ties be­ing ad­ver­tised for short-term rental have been reg­is­tered as vis­i­tor ac­com­mo­da­tion,’’ he said.

‘‘We pre­fer to work with property own­ers to en­cour­age them to com­ply with the rules so if we find prop­er­ties that have not been reg­is­tered, we will send the own­ers a let­ter re­quir­ing them to reg­is­ter and com­ply with the pro­vi­sions of the District Plan.’’

The penal­ties for non­com­pli­ance start with a $300 in­fringe­ment fee.

The coun­cil may also is­sue an abate­ment no­tice, re­quir­ing the owner to cease us­ing the property for vis­i­tor ac­com­mo­da­tion.

Non-com­pli­ance with an abate­ment no­tice car­ries a $750 penalty.

Reg­is­ter­ing as a home­s­tay or rental hol­i­day home will boost an aver­age rates bill by more than $500, as the property is then as­sessed un­der the mixe­duse cat­e­gory, re­flect­ing par­tial use for commercial pur­poses and in­cur­ring an ap­prox­i­mate 25 per cent rates in­crease.

In May the Airbnb web­site had 185 rooms or prop­er­ties in Queen­stown listed as avail­able for short stays, start­ing at $65 a night, and 101 rooms or prop­er­ties avail­able in Wanaka, Cromwell, Ar­row­town and Gibb­ston start­ing from $49 a night.

The site now list 248 rooms or prop­er­ties in Queen­stown, and 108 in Wanaka, Cromwell, Ar­row­town and Gibb­ston.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.