Fed up Rotorua residents are calling for tougher restrictions on holiday home owners, saying they are sick of "policing" large groups of guests.

Some residents say they are putting up with noisy guests and strangers on their properties, and have been forced to contact search and rescue crews when intoxicated visitors head out on to the lake at night.

But one holiday home owner says he doesn't know if a proposed district plan change will solve the problem.

Rotorua Lakes Council is proposing a new plan change that would place stricter conditions on holiday homes housing large numbers of guests.


According to the council website, the intention of the plan change is to address issues with houses being let to large groups and causing problems relating to noise and parking, and changing the character of an area.

Under Plan Change 6, any holiday rental operators will need to apply for resource consent if their property houses more than 12 people per night, or if there is inadequate car parking.

One car park would need to be provided for every four guests.

Twelve people entered submissions on the proposal, with the period for further submissions ending on February 9.

One of those submitters was Glendyr Casey, who has lived in her Ngongotaha home for 28 years. There are five holiday homes within about 20m of her house, and she says the issue has become progressively worse over time.

"It's not like having normal neighbours, you never really relax."

While noise has been an issue, Casey said she had also had to call search and rescue crews in the past because people would go kayaking on the lake, intoxicated, at night.

"They're just so stupid."


Casey knows the issue from both sides - she owns a holiday home herself. The unit is on her property, and she limits the number of guests to four adults.

She wants the council to reduce the number of guests allowed without resource consent to six.

"Reducing numbers helps, they don't get as hyped up, you get a different type of people.

"It's not up to the neighbours to be policing it all the time, but that's what it's coming down to.

"We've called noise control a few times, but other times you just suck it up."

In her submission, Casey said her family had been "unable to relax because of the nightly changeovers and strangers living next door".

"We have witnessed glass bottles being thrown into the lake, rubbish being disposed of in the lake, drunken bachelor parties, people going out in kayaks at midnight drunk. They have also wandered through our property – we have had to install gates to stop this.

"We have been abused when asking people to refrain from doing so."

Despite the issues, she's not planning on leaving the area any time soon.

"This is our home. Why should we be driven out of our homes?"

Submitter Kate Wilson, who lives next door to a holiday home, said guests disrupted "the quiet enjoyment of residential living".

Like Casey, Wilson wanted the resource consent requirement reduced to six people.

She also believed resource consent should be required if the owner did not live on site, if the occupancy period was greater than 50 calendar days a year, and if there were more than 20 people on site during the day.

Online accommodation booking website BookaBach also backed moves to tighten restrictions.

In a submission, general manager Peter Miles said while BookaBach was "generally wary" of changes impacting on the short term rental industry, it agreed with the proposal.

"This restriction provides an additional tool for council to address the small number of problems with overcrowded properties in residential areas."

While some are keen to see a further reduction in guest numbers, holiday home owner Lant Harris isn't sure if that will improve the situation.

Harris, whose rental can cater for up to 14 people, said he would reduce that to 12 if the plan change came into effect.

In the four years he had owned the property he'd had two complaints from neighbours about noise, but said he knew of other landlords who had more issues with guests.

"Will it fix the problem? I don't know, it's really about who runs the place."

The details
The plan change will affect holiday rental operators within Rotorua's residential and rural zones.
No changes are proposed for properties within the Lakes A Zone (including lakes Okareka and Tarawera) because the Lakes A rules of the District Plan will be reviewed in the future.
Further submissions must be received by February 9.
Hearing dates will be set at a later date.