Establishing if permits are legal

Sally asks:
(updated on Wednesday, February 01st 2012)

I am looking to buy an investment property with 2 dwellings and a sleepout. How do I know if these have been legally established with Council permits?

Our Experts Answer:

It is always best practice to obtain a property disk or file from the Council when undertaking due diligence upon a property. The property file will usually contain all documentation regarding the site from historic building and drainage permits through to resource and subdivision consents.

If the Council does not have a record of the built form upon the site and how they are used then potentially part of the built form and its use has not been legally established upon the site. The Council files are not always 100% accurate and when you are dealing with more historic established uses then it may be prudent to check the archives (often held within local library and see if rates have been charged and in what manner).

If you are still unsure then it is best to consult with a planning consultant who could review the situation in depth. A planning consultant can often save time and money by being conversant with the planning law and district plan rules. Existing use right are a very tricky subject and often Council’s will interpret them differently.

Hamish Firth of Mt Hobson Group manages the Resource Consent application process and provides initial pre purchase advice to investors and developers. www.mhg.co.nz

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