By Georgia O'Connor-Harding

A six-bedroom rental in an upmarket Lincoln subdivision in Christchurch is at the centre of a row that could shape the future of the district's planning rules.

Residents living in Carnaveron Drive, Barton Fields, have complained to the Selwyn District Council about a property they claim is a boarding house.

The house is owned by Lincoln University student Harry Crawford, who is in Auckland. The house is tenanted by students and professionals.


Residents say there is no issue with noise but say the property is generally untidy.

Under the district plan, the house is defined as a dwelling and complies with residential activity rules.

District council environmental services manager Tim Harris said the district plan does not define a boarding house, but the plan is now under review and this may change.

Residents do not want similar-styled houses to pop up throughout the district without notification and are calling for a boarding house definition.

Crawford said he did not want to upset residents and had done a lot of work to get the house up to standard to look like a home.

He said the driveway has enough parking for the number of rooms in the house and the landscaping is being done in spring which is a more suitable time to do it.

"We haven't had a single noise complaint since we have been there. We have been friendly, hospitable and we are not there to upset people and it is never going to be a party house."

Neighbour Joan Mawson, one of those who has complained, said it wasn't a witch hunt against Crawford.


Mawson and other nearby residents, Kate MacLean and Lin Tian, said they would not have bought sections if they knew the rental house was being built.

They were angry at the businessman who sold the section to Crawford.

The house sits on the boundary of the Barton Fields subdivision now under development by Faulks Investments Ltd.

Managing director Tony Faulks said the house should not have been authorised by the district council.

In Christchurch last year, the Ilam and Upper Riccarton Residents' Association successfully lobbied for the Christchurch City Council replacement district plan to have a boarding house definition, to stop loose "rent a room" arrangements.

This meant a resource consent was required before a boarding house could be established.