Regional districts and city councils in New Zealand

At some stage during your life in New Zealand you will need to contact your local council, whether to pay your dog tax or to apply for a building permit.

Here a list of all Councils in New Zealand Read more

Buying a house for NZ non-residents

The following does not apply to NZ permanent residents, who can freely buy property in NZ.

New Zealand generally encourages foreign investment from all countries, however a minimum level of control is maintained to ensure that undesirable investment is discouraged, and to control the acquisition of certain sensitive land.

Whilst the disincentives to foreign investment are minimal, there are effectively no incentives.

Controls on foreign investment are found in the Overseas Investment Act 1973 (“the Act”) and its regulations.

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House/Property inspection

You have found a home that you are keen to buy and want to take it to the next stage. A professional property inspection is recommended next.

Why have a professional inspection?

A professional inspection of a home before you buy should identify matters that need attention.
Not many existing homes will come up with a completely clean slate. There will always be some maintenance to be done.
But armed with a property report, you can make an informed decision about whether the problems are so severe that you should not go ahead with the purchase.
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Building a house in New Zealand

The New Zealand Building Act

In New Zealand the building of houses is controlled by the Building Act 2004 which applies not only to the construction of new buildings but also to the alteration, demolition and maintenance of existing buildings.

The main reason for having building controls is to ensure buildings are safe and healthy to live in.

There is a three-part framework for setting out these controls:

  • The Building Act 2004 sets out the law on building work.
  • The Building Regulations contain the mandatory New Zealand Building Code, and also the rules about building consents and building inspections.
  • The New Zealand Building Code sets out performance standards that all building work must meet, and covers aspects such as fire safety, access, moisture control, durability, services and facilities.

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Buying a house in New Zealand

You may look at dozens of houses before you buy or only a few. Either way, you can find the right home with thorough research. We look at the important matters to investigate.

Buyer beware!

Before you buy a new home, whether it is not yet built, newly built, or an older home, it is important to research it thoroughly.
For most people, buying a house or an apartment is the biggest investment they will ever make, so it is wise to go into it knowing as much as possible, including any defects or potential problems.

When you purchase an older house you are likely to be buying into some problems. Homes that have been neglected can have problems with the structure, roof, plumbing, electrics and gas, which can pose a risk to the overall integrity of the building, as well as your safety and wellbeing after you move in.

Even if the house has been well maintained, you can expect a few matters will need to be dealt with, even if it is simply a need for redecoration.
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Renting a house in New Zealand

When you arrive in New Zealand it is a good idea initially to rent a home while you decide where you wish to live.

Since NZ has a high level of home ownership, the stock of rental housing is less extensive than in most other developed countries. Prices and quality vary and it is always advisable to visit a property personally before signing a Tenancy Agreement, also known as a lease. First appearances can be deceptive – make sure you check the basics.

Parts of NZ can be cold and houses that do not get a lot of direct sun may have problems with dampness during the winter months. Factors such as proximity to transport, shops and schools as well as the general feel of the neighbourhood also need to be taken into account.
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Bring your pet to New Zealand

Cats and dogs can be brought, subject to meeting the quarantine requirements, which will vary, depending on the country of origin.

Other normal family pets will be covered under specific regulations, and will be significantly more difficult to bring.

Horses are covered separately.
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Registered Migration Advisers/Consultants

For those of you who don’t want to apply for visa yourself, or those who need extra help, there is the option of hiring a IAA-registered migration consultant.

Why a registered consultant?

Immigration New Zealand requires all migration agents who work in New Zealand and abroad to be registered.

For you, this means that you will get a bonafide service, from a well trained agent who is experienced in visa applications.
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Useful information for migrants

If you are thinking of immigration to New Zealand or if you are in the process of doing so, you may find the following links helpful.

Migrant social clubs in New Zealand

There are several migrant social clubs in New Zealand, where you can meet other migrants, to share information and tips or to help you to settle in your “new” country or just to have a good time with.

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