Information for homeowners and building owners

Last updated: 3 April 2024

Your home or property may need a building assessment by a suitably qualified professional if it is damaged by a major event. This is to ensure it is safe to enter and occupy, and does not risk the safety of others.

If an emergency has affected your area it is possible that your home or building may be damaged. This information is to help homeowners and building owners understand what actions they should take, and what help is available.

Responsibilities of homeowners and building owners

Your safety is most important. Please ensure you look after yourself and your whānau/family.

Following an event, there are some things you should do:

  • Check all your buildings and property for signs of damage.
  • If your building is damaged, contact the local council to request a rapid building assessment.
  • If your building is damaged, contact your insurance company to request an assessment.
  • To find information about rapid building assessments happening in your area go to your local council website.

If your building has been assessed it may have received a placard to confirm the outcome of the assessment.

Information about the placards and what they mean.

As a building owner you have a responsibility to ensure your buildings remain structurally sound following an event such as a major earthquake or flood. You must continue to comply with your obligations in relation to health and safety, tenancy and lease agreements, and any other contracts.

You also have an obligation to enable authorised officials to carry out their inspection duties following an event.

Employers or tenants who occupy your buildings should follow your advice. They should be satisfied that you are performing your role and meeting your responsibilities.

Disputes and appeals

If you disagree with a decision made by an authorised official using building emergency management powers during a 'designation' under the Building Act you may apply to MBIE for a determination.

Information about disputes, determinations and appeals.

Related information and support

Insurance and claims

If your building has been damaged, you can reach out to your insurer to make a claim if needed.

Contact your insurer as soon as possible, there are likely to be delays as insurance companies deal with many claims. Make sure you take photos of any damage if it is safe to do so.

EQC also provides some cover for emergencies on defined areas of residential land, where there's a current private insurance policy for the home, which includes fire insurance (most do).

Insurance and claims : Toka Tū Ake EQC -

New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (NZCRS)

Dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster can be extremely stressful. It is important that you have access to the independent support that you need.

The New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (NZCRS) is a free service that provides residential homeowners with advice, case management support where appropriate, and access to legal, technical and wellbeing services so they can achieve timely, fair, and enduring resolution of their residential insurance claims resulting from natural disasters.

You should talk to your insurer in the first instance and contact NZCRS if you have concerns about your claim or are unsure about the process.

More information about NZCRS or discuss a claim with NZCRS -

Services for tenants and landlords

If you are the tenant or landlord of a rental property you can find information about your rights and obligations after a natural disaster on the Tenancy Services website or by phoning 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

Tenancy Services - What to do after a natural disaster -

Temporary Accommodation Service

If you need immediate emergency accommodation following an event, contact your local Civil Defence centre.

Local civil defence centres -

The Temporary Accommodation Service supports affected households to find ongoing temporary accommodation in the wake of an emergency where they are displaced from their home while it is being repaired, rebuilt or they are unable to return to access their home.

Temporary Accommodation Service -

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: