If you are eligible to apply for consent to buy or build one home to live in, you will find all of the information and the forms you need on this page. You can check whether you are eligible to apply, on the New Zealand Now website .
It is important that you find out whether you need consent to buy before you sign a sale and purchase agreement as there are significant penalties if you don’t get consent first.
If you are interested in learning about investing in New Zealand, you can learn more about the ways you can do this on theOverseas Investment Office website
These laws apply to homes that are categorised as ‘residential’ or ‘lifestyle’ on the District Valuation Roll. You can check properties on websites, such as Quotable Value website
or ask the local council. For other types of homes and land, different rules apply see‘Residential land sensitive for other reasons’
Once you have determined that you need consent from the Overseas Investment Office to buy or build a home to live in that is classed as residential or lifestyle, you can apply using the forms on this page.
You must apply for consent as early in the sale process as possible, and you can apply for pre-approval before you have found the property you want to buy. Your lawyer needs to have your Overseas Investment Office consent number before you can complete the sale.
Simple consents could take up to 10 working days to be granted. The fee for individuals is $2040.
You can still sign a sale and purchase agreement without consent, provided that the agreement is conditional upon consent being granted.
If you need consent, but sign an unconditional agreement without it, you may face significant penalties and have to sell. If you make a false statement, you could be fined up to $300,000.
If you are granted consent, there are certain conditions you must meet. These are detailed in the Overseas Investment Act 2005, but in general, everyone who is named in the consent must:
If you don’t meet these conditions, you may have to sell the land, and / or face penalties and fines.
These conditions will cease to apply if you become a New Zealand citizen or become ordinarily resident in New Zealand.
When you are ready to buy a home, your lawyer will ask you to complete a Residential Land Statement to say whether you are eligible to buy. They will help you do this. It is important that you talk to your lawyer before you sign a sale and purchase agreement. If you need consent, but sign an agreement without it, you may face significant penalties.
Alternatively, you can make the agreement conditional on the consent of the Overseas Investment Office or get pre-approval before you find a property to buy.
If you are a couple, you don’t both need consent if you are buying the home as relationship property. This includes people who are married, in a civil union, or a de facto relationship.
But please note that Australian and Singaporean citizens and permanent residents who want to buy residential land that is also sensitive for other reasons always need to apply for OIO consent.
If you have bought as a couple, but later separate or divorce, both parties can keep their share of the relationship property without having to apply for consent, even if they are overseas people.
If you inherit a home, you may be able to keep it and live in it without applying for consent. However, the rules are complex and depend on when the property was originally purchased and whether OIO consent was required for that purchase. You should take legal advice if you are inheriting a home.Buying through a trust or company
If you are an overseas person, you can apply for consent to buy a home to live in using a trust or a company. The trust or company itself is generally considered an ‘overseas person’ if it is 25 percent or more overseas owned or controlled by an overseas person.
To be able to get consent, all of the people who own or control the trust or company must be ‘qualifying individuals’. This means people who are either New Zealanders, people who are ordinarily resident here, people who hold residence class visas, or Australian and Singaporean citizens and permanent residents.
All the people the Overseas Investment Office considers to own or control the trust or company will be required to live in the house.
You can learn more about this at the Overseas Investment Office website but this is a complex area of law and you will need the help of a New Zealand property lawyer.
The fee for an application for consent by a trust or company is $3900 for land that is residential or lifestyle only, and will take longer than an application by an individual.
Some residential or lifestyle land may also be classed as sensitive for other reasons. If land is residential and also sensitive for other reasons, different rules apply. It can be difficult to work out if land is also sensitive for other reasons, but in general it will be land that is rural or next to a lake, river, reserve or the sea.These rules are complex and you will need the help of a New Zealand property lawyer.
As a guide, fees for this type of consent range between $24,600 and $31,600 and can take significantly longer than consents for land that is residential or lifestyle only.
For residential land, ordinarily resident means you:
There is more detail in the application templates .
Download the template for your situation and save it to your computer. Once it is completed, you can use the online submission link to apply. From inside the link you can upload your completed template and other documents.
The OIO will endeavour to decide your consent applications within 10 working days for individuals where land is residential only.
If you discover you have accidentally broken the rules, and bought without consent, you must let us know. For example: you may have been given incorrect legal advice by your lawyer about whether OIO consent was required. You may be able to apply to us for a retrospective consent. However, in addition to the usual application fee, you will also face a penalty of up to $10,000 depending on the value of the home. There is more detail on our retrospective applications
The consolidated version of the Overseas Investment Act 2005 will be available soon. Until then, the references for theOverseas Investment Amendment Act 2018 are provided below.
This website provides general information only. The OIO and LINZ do not assume any responsibility for giving legal or other professional advice and disclaim any liability arising from the use of the information. If you require legal or other expert advice you should seek assistance from a professional adviser.
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