Some property information is free from some councils online or if you visit the council offices in person. Check with the local council.
You need to know
Not reviewing any council information about the property
This is a cheap short-term option that will save you time.
But, you won’t learn important information about the property.
Obtain a Land Information Memorandum (LIM)
There is a cost for this.
The LIM contains important information about the property. It does not include any building plans submitted to the council for consent.
We recommend reviewing the council’s property information along with the LIM.
Review the council’s property information
There may not be a cost for this.
You may need to go into the council office to look at this information, and there may be a charge for copying it.
Some councils make this information available online.
If you visit the council office, you may be able to discuss the property information with someone at the council.
We recommend reviewing the LIM report along with the council’s property information.
Ask your lawyer or conveyancer to review the LIM and council property information
There is a cost for this.
Lawyers and conveyancers are familiar with these documents and may see things you could miss.
The lawyer or conveyancer is unlikely to visit the property, so it is still important that you inspect the plans and council consent records to check if anything has been added to the property that hasn’t been consented by the council.
Land information memorandum (LIM) reports
A LIM is a report prepared by the local council at your request. It provides a summary of the current property information held by the different departments at council on the day the LIM was produced. It does not provide all information on the property, for example, if the council hasn’t been notified of a weathertightness issue with the property, it won’t show on the LIM.
A LIM provides information about some or all of the following:
- Storm water or sewage drains.
- Any Heritage New Zealand protection.
- Special land features such as erosion or flooding.
- Any rates owing on the land.
- Permits, building consents or requisitions, and other certificates previously issued by the local council or building consent authority.
- Zoning - how the land may be used and any conditions that apply.
- Any notices to the council by any statutory organisation that has the power to classify land or buildings for any purpose.
- Any notices to the council given by any network utility operator under the Building Act.
- Any other information that the council thinks is relevant.
How can I get a LIM?
Your lawyer or conveyancer can help you get a LIM or you can get it yourself from the local council. Ask them for an application form or apply via the council’s website. You will need to pay a fee, and the process may take several days. Your lawyer or conveyancer can help you understand the report.
Other council information
The property file may contain relevant information that isn’t on the LIM, including a site plan showing an outline of any buildings in relation to the boundary and the original plans of the house.
Look for permissions, building consents or resource consents that relate to the original property and any changes since it was built. Compare what is on the file to how the property looks now to identify any alterations. There should be consents filed in the property file or the LIM for any work completed if consent was required for that work. Completed works are usually required to have a code compliance certificate (CCC), which will also be found in the LIM or property file.
Where alterations to the property were carried out without consent or where the council cannot issue a CCC, a certificate of acceptance (COA) may be issued instead. You can ask the seller to apply to the council for a COA. The seller does not have to comply with your request, and the council may or may not issue a COA.
The file should also show up old issues such as complaints made by current or past neighbours in the area.
Some councils have this information available online, or you can go into council’s office. You may have to pay to view files that have been archived.
It may save you time if you make an appointment to meet with a planner and this gives you the opportunity to ask questions.
- How is the property zoned?
- Are any nearby properties zoned differently?
- What activities are allowed in the zone?
- What can the neighbours do that might affect your enjoyment of the property such as increasing the height of their property and blocking the view?
- Are there any protected trees on or close to the property?
- Is there anything in the district plan that may affect the property such as a proposed motorway?
- Are there any applications or proposals for neighbouring properties? For example, a quarry down the road may be proposing to increase extraction which could result in more dust, noise and traffic.
- If you are planning to build your own house on the land, this is also a good opportunity to ask about which services (water, power, phone, gas) are located near the property. This could affect where you can build, or could add extra building costs.