Granny flat requirements

Question from Robert updated on 3rd December 2018:

I have a property which was built in 1974 and renovated in the year 2000. It has a granny flat which has a kitchen, bathroom and toilet, hot water cylinder, one bedroom, and its own exit door. It is located on top of the garage and there is no internal access to main building. The granny flat was used as the house keeper's house by the previous owner. 

I rented it out to a family. But a city council officer did a building inspection and asked me not rent the granny flat separately, or to only rent it to a family member. The reason for this is that is that the building zone is single house zone.

My questions are: 1) Does the granny flat qualify as a granny flat or as a self contained flat? 2) Are granny flats not allowed to be rented separately? 3) Can granny flats only be rented to family members?


Our expert Jennifer Sykes responded:

The Residential Tenancies Act reinforces that landlords must ‘comply with all requirements in respect of buildings, health, and safety under any enactment so far as they apply to the premises’, and also requires that the landlord take all reasonable steps to ensure there is no legal impediment to the premises being occupied by the tenants.

In practice, this means landlords need to be broadly aware of any building-related, health-related and safety-related requirements, including those in the following laws: • Building Act 2004 and the Building Code • Health Act 1956 • Housing Improvement Regulations and bylaws made under the Local Government Act 2002. These are set and enforced by individual councils within their districts.

Therefore residential premises (whether a granny flat, apartment or house) will also need to meet the local Council law and by-law requirements, which may include conditions of any resource consent. Speak with your council in the first instance for more information. The Act does not directly regulate the standard of rental properties or the leasing of rental properties to family members.

For information on the rights and responsibilities of landlords and tenants, go to You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter Tenancy Matters here.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment provides information and guidance on building law and compliance, services including weathertight homes, and advice for tenants and landlords.

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