21 Feb 2014

Hard word on Queenstown property owners who rent to tourists

4:27 pm on 21 February 2014

Property owners who rent out their private houses to tourists in Queenstown have until May to own up to the local council or face hefty penalties.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council is offering an amnesty to private owners who are not paying commercial rates, otherwise it will look to prosecute those ignoring their responsibility.

Chief financial officer Stewart Burns says there are potentially hundreds of private houses being used for short-term rental accommodation and it's time those owners paid their fair share.

He says such people need to contribute to the costs of marketing the region to visitors.

"We have promotional organisations that exist for Queenstown and Wanaka that promote the area as a destination," Mr Burns says. "A portion of their rates would be going towards supporting those organisations as other accommodation providers are required to do."

Mr Burns says that in most cases the rates increase would be about $500 a year.