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New Housing rules

19 November 2021

AUTHOR:Kevin Birch

MDRS – what is it? And how does it affect you?

The Government has moved to speed up their National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) by introducing a Bill into Parliament. This requires Councils in the main urban areas (Auckland, Hamilton, Tauranga, Wellington and Christchurch) to amend their planning documents by adopting Medium Density Residential Standards (MDRS).

The medium density residential standards (MDRS) will set seven building requirements to enable development and must be incorporated into RMA plans for current and future residential.The requirements will enable landowners to build up to three houses of up to three storeys on their site as of right on most sites. This includes alterations to existing buildings. In many cases, these standards will have legal effect when plans are notified by August 2022, immediately enabling new supply.

Most significantly, these standards will apply to all residential zones (subject to limited exceptions where this level of intensification is not considered appropriate for a variety of reasons). The impact on our urban environments and the people living there is enormous.

There is divided opinion on the merits and workability of these provisions, but also in contention is the rapid adoption of these measures and the short time frame provided for submissions to the bill. I am sure there will be heated debate as this matter progresses.