Information about specific planning requirements for older person's housing units.

District Plan requirements

An older person's housing unit (previously called an elderly person's housing unit) is an accommodation that is intended only for use by older people.

The Christchurch District Plan defines an older person as:

  • a person who is over the age of 60; or
  • a person who qualifies for a permanent supported living payment on health grounds.

The partner, spouse, dependants or caregiver of an eligible older person are also allowed to live in the unit.

Older persons' housing units must be constructed in groups of two or more. 

Units with a gross floor area of no more than 120m² (including garages or other accessory buildings) are eligible for some exemptions from the usual rules for residential units in the Residential Suburban, Residential Suburban Density Transition, Residential Hills, Residential Large Lot, Residential Small Settlement and Residential New Neighbourhood zones. 

To ensure that only older people occupy the units, the District Plan requires that a legal encumbrance be placed on the certificate of title.

Older person's housing unit encumbrances

The encumbrance required by the District Plan must be registered on the certificate of title for the property before construction of the units commences. It provides notice to owners and potential purchasers that the unit can only be occupied by people who meet the District Plan definition of an older person.

The Council arranges for preparation and registration of the encumbrance on the certificate of title, in conjunction with your own solicitor. To request an encumbrance, please fill out the form: 

Request for encumbrance (Form P-011) [PDF, 123 KB]

Building work is unable to commence until the encumbrance is registered on the title, so to avoid delays, it is recommended that you submit the request for encumbrance form and the fee either before or when you submit your building consent application.

Converting an Elderly Person's Housing unit into a residential unit

In the Residential Medium Density zone, an elderly person’s housing unit that was existing on 6 December 2013 can be converted into a residential unit able to be occupied by anyone if certain requirements are met. 

You can use the District Plan Property Search to check the zoning of your property. 

Please note that since April 2018 the District Plan no longer enables conversions of EPH units in the Residential Suburban zone or Residential Suburban Density Transition zone. 

Encumbrance fees

Refer to the Resource management schedule of fees for registration or discharge of encumbrances.

Please note that the encumbrance fee does not include your own solicitor's fees. The preparation of the encumbrance document is done in consultation with your solicitor, as it is a legal document.

Contact us

For more information or enquiries please contact the Duty Planner.