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Tohu whakamahinga onāianei

Existing use certificate

An existing use certificate may be issued to prove that someone has a legal right to carry out an existing activity, as set out in sections 10, 10A, and 20A of the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).

What you need to know before applying for an existing use certificate

Under section 10 of the RMA, in some situations existing uses of land may continue even after a proposed plan makes those uses of the land unlawful.

The activity may continue only if:

  • it was 'lawfully established' as a permitted activity or had a resource consent at the time the rule was introduced or the proposed plan was notified
  • the effects of the land use are the same or similar to those that existed before the rule became operative or the proposed plan was notified
  • it had not been discontinued for a continuous period of more than 12 months after the rule in the plan became operative or the proposed plan was notified.

Existing use rights under section 10 do not apply to work on a building that fails to comply with any rule in a plan or proposed plan, where that work does not improve current compliance.

All types of existing use rights are set out in:

If you would like us to confirm whether you have existing use rights for an existing building or activity, you can apply for an existing use certificate.

Application fees for existing use certificate

*Fees are indicative pricing only.

Read fee table.
Description Lodgement deposit
Certificate for completion; certificate of compliance; existing use; outline plan; extension of time$1500

​How to apply online for an existing use certificate

We only accept online applications for an existing use certificate. If you are unable to apply digitally, visit one of our libraries with council services for assistance in making your online application.

See Ways to pay online for information on all payment options.


​Apply for existing use certificate


If there is no way to provide digital copies of your plans or documents, visit one of our libraries with council services. Our staff will accept your documents for an additional charge. The charge covers costs involved with us scanning your documents into our digital consent system.

Call us on 09 301 0101 to speak with our building and planning help desk if you have questions regarding your application.

​What happens next

Once you submit your application - specifying the character, intensity and scale of the use or activity - we may ask for more information.

If we are satisfied that the use or activity qualifies, we will issue the certificate within 20 working days.

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