To support the city's recovery, the Resource Management Act processes have been streamlined for businesses and residents relocating to temporary accommodation, and construction depots and storage yards needed for earthquake rebuild work.

As a result of the earthquakes many people and businesses can no longer live or work in their usual homes or premises. Thousands of displaced people have already relocated or will need to relocate to temporary accommodation while their homes and businesses are being repaired or rebuilt. Construction depots are also needed around the city for rebuilding purposes.

District plan rules

The Christchurch District Plan allows temporary accommodation as a permitted activity if it complies with the rules in Chapter 6 of the Plan. These vary depending on the type of temporary accommodation and the zoning of the property. If the rules cannot be met, approval is needed from the Council. 

There are two options for obtaining approval:

  1. Apply for a resource consent to breach the District Plan rules. This follows the normal resource consents process; or
  2. Apply for a Site Specific Approval under the temporary accommodation legislation (explained further below). 

For both types of approval, all other statutory  requirements and regulations (e.g. building consent, liquor licensing) still stand and need to follow the normal processes. 

Temporary accommodation legislation

The Canterbury Earthquake (Resource Management Act Permitted Activities) Order 2011(external link) was passed in March 2011 to enable the Council to permit temporary accommodation for displaced people and businesses that would otherwise not comply with the District Plan. The Order has an expiry date of 30 June 2021. Any temporary accommodation established under this legislation can therefore only remain on site until that date unless it complies with the District Plan, or a resource consent has been obtained.

The Council has put in place a special streamlined process to decide whether an activity is suitable for the location: 

A Site Specific Approval must be obtained from the Council 

Policy for Temporary Accommodation [PDF, 15 KB]


Temporary accommodation in residential areas

  • Temporary accommodation and depots may be located in parts of the City in which these activities would not normally be allowed under the District Plan.
  • Temporary accommodation and depots may be located in parts of the city not otherwise affected by the earthquake.
  • You may start to see different things happening in your neighbourhood, if temporary accommodation is set up. This is only for a limited period of time.
  • If Council approval is required, the decision will take into account residents living nearby, balancing the quality of life of the community with the need to progress the rebuilding of the city.

Workers' temporary accommodation

The Christchurch District Plan provides for temporary uses and temporary buildings for workers’ accommodation. This provides greater certainty for accommodation providers, councils and communities and  will help to facilitate the provision of suitable accommodation to meet the needs of rebuild workers. The relevant rules are outlined in Section 6.4.5 of the District Plan. 

If you have any questions or require further information please email the Duty Planner.