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Its not consented - what do I do now?

Updated: Feb 14

Sometimes we come across situations where we find out after the fact that something has been built, converted or a new activity established that needed resource consent but doesn’t have one. Possibly a new property was bought like this, or someone was over- eager and didn’t get resource consent in advance. What do you do in these situations?

Retrospective resource consent

In these cases, you can apply for retrospective resource consent. This is the same as the usual resource consent process, and you have to provide all the usual information, assessment and pay Council’s fees. The application is assessed as though the activity isn’t there or the building hasn’t been constructed/ converted. This may mean that you need to get approval from neighbours or other potentially affected parties. You will also have to demonstrate how you have undertaken works, provide plans and reports. See our website for other blogs on the resource consent process.


Don’t think that just because something is already there, that getting resource consent will be an easy ride. Sometimes people have illegally established an activity, such as a business, separate unit or a minor dwelling, that is fundamentally at odds with the sites zoning. In these cases, the risks may be high and you would be better to remove the illegal building/ activity. You need to get professional planning advice about the risk, so you can make an informed decision on what action to take.

Development Contributions

Don’t forget that legalising the situation may mean you have to pay development contributions and/ or infrastructure charges. We have other blogs on this topic on our website that you may like to read.

What if I don’t own the site yet?

If you don’t own the site yet but want to buy it, illegal buildings/ activities are things you need to consider when making your offer in terms of conditions and the offer price. Some people will offer less, to offset the costs they will incur in rectifying the situation or may add a condition that the current owners legalise things. We suggest you discuss this with your lawyer before putting in your offer.

What if I don’t get resource consent?

If you don’t have a resource consent, your local Council is able to take enforcement action against you. This can range from informal communications asking you to rectify the situation to fines, court action and a requirement to remove the structure/ cease the activity. It can impact on your insurances, the value of the property and your ability to sell it. You’d be well advised to rectify any non- consented situation as soon as you become aware of it.

Need help?

At Planning Plus, our specialty is resource consents. We’ve been involved in this work for many years, and will give you honest, professional planning advice and manage the resource consent process on your behalf. Our aim is to take the stress out of the process for you. Give our friendly team a call today to discuss your proposal, 09 427 9966.

Disclaimer As with all our blogs, the information detailed here is general in nature and meant as a preliminary guide only. This should not be substituted for your own investigations or use of your own professional’s.

© Planning Plus Ltd 2023

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