Listing your Property on Airbnb - What you need to know about short-term accommodation

3 October 2021

The number of people listing their property for short-term holiday accommodation is becoming increasingly popular with the rise of online holiday accommodation websites such as Airbnb and Bookabach.

If you are considering opening your property up to holiday makers, there are a number of legal, regulatory and practical considerations you need to be aware of.

Local council rules

It’s important to check your local council rules on short-term accommodation. Some councils, such as Queenstown Lakes District Council, require you to register your property as a Homestay, Holiday Home or Visitor Accommodation and may charge you higher rates for your property.

Your local council may also require you to apply for a resource consent to change the use of the property from residential to short-term accommodation.

Holiday rental agreements

The Residential Tenancies Act 1986 (RTA) does not apply to short-term holiday rentals meaning a residential tenancy agreement would not be appropriate for use in a short-term accommodation arrangement. Instead, you will need a holiday rental agreement that sets out the terms and conditions (or rules) relating to the holidaymakers use and enjoyment of your property.

If you let your property through an already established accommodation site, like Airbnb or Bookabach, these sites often have their own terms and conditions which are included in your listing. It’s important you check that the terms and conditions suit your property and cover everything you need them to. If not, you may need a short-term accommodation agreement to suit your specific needs.

Generally, terms and conditions should include (but are not limited to) rules and expectations around:

  • payments, including deposits and refunds;
  • the maximum number of guests;
  • pets;
  • camping, e.g. whether extra guests can pitch a tent on the lawn;
  • smoking/non-smoking; and
  • liability, e.g. if someone has an accident on your property.

Existing tenants

If you already have tenants living at your property, it’s important to note you cannot legally require those tenants to temporarily move out of the property in order for you lease the property on a short-term basis. If you were to bring their tenancy to an end, you would have to comply with the requirements of the RTA. On the same basis, your tenants would not be entitled to sublet your property for short-term accommodation without your permission.


It’s important you notify your insurer before using your property for short-term accommodation. Your insurer may or may not require any changes to your policy. However, if your property was being used for your personal use, it’s likely your premiums, and excess on any claims, will increase. Failure to notify your insurer may invalidate your policy.


Renting your house out for short-term accommodation can be very profitable, but it does come with some risk.

If you need any assistance or have any queries regarding renting your property as short-term accommodation, feel free to get in touch with us.

Odette Cottle is part of our Corporate & Commercial team at Norris Ward McKinnon.

Corporate & Commercial Team