DCC checks after property owners 'dobbed in'

About 150 Dunedin property owners who let their entire premises short-term through websites such as Airbnb are about to receive a letter from the Dunedin City Council checking their homes comply with the Building Act and district plan.

The letter was sent after the Otago Motel Association ''dobbed in'' these properties, sending a list of 230 premises to the council.

The association has done something similar in Queenstown, and spokesman Neville Butcher said he was pleased the council had followed up.

''A lot of these premises being let are non-compliant and therefore need resource consent to operate in that space, and they have not done so,'' Mr Butcher said.

''All we are saying is that they need to go through the right channels and make sure they are doing things above board.''

He said the motel association's list had been compiled from website listings.

Short-term rentals had to meet several requirements, including complying with fire codes and having proper access to bathrooms and cooking facilities, Mr Butcher said.

Council community services general manager Simon Pickford said the council was not acting on the association's behalf, but it was obliged to act on complaints from members of the public.

The council letter set out the owner's obligations under the Building Act and district plan if the property was being let out short-term, Mr Pickford said.

''We've said if they are, they should get in touch.

''That's the tone of the letter. It's not any more than that.''

If someone failed to respond, many issues could arise, including insurance cover, Mr Pickford said.

The council is considering a change in rating categories to encompass short-term rentals.

Comments

"Simon Pickford said the council was not acting on the association's behalf, but it was obliged to act on complaints from members of the public."
This statement is an admittance of guilt that the council has not been enforcing their own rules to protect the general public. It's not an issue of extra rates or taxes, it is one of safety. Holiday and room rentals are nothing new but they are being forced into taking action because of compliments. This proves negligence and poor leadership.

That's a really long bow. Council negligence and failure or private ownership negligence and failure?

Follow the money. The Association complains because it is loosing business. The DCC seizes the opportunity to extract fees from home owners renting out a room or two.

Let the free market regulate the process. Just follow the reviews home owners get. If it is a crappy room/house (no alarms, no toilets, cold, etc) that will be known instantly via the reviews posted on-line. Crappy rentals are known immediately and loose business/bookings.

When councils get notified of things like this, or 'illegal treehouses' to use another recent example, they HAVE to act on it (by law?). They could probably get in a lot of trouble if they didn't.