Information for homeowners and building owners

Your home, workplace 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, safe to occupy and does not risk the safety of others.

Responsibilities of homeowners and building owners

Your safety is most important. Please continue to look after yourself, your whānau and check-in on your elderly and vulnerable neighbours.

Following an event, you should check all your buildings and property for signs of damage.

Building and homeowners have a responsibility to ensure their buildings remain structurally sound following an event such as a major earthquake or flood. They must also continue to comply with their obligations in relation to health and safety, tenancy and lease agreements, and any other contracts.

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

Employers or tenants who occupy the building should follow the building owner’s advice and be satisfied that the owner is performing their role.

Additional information and resources:

  • Remediation and repair work advice if you have been affected by a flood
  • If you think your building is damaged and should not be used, you should contact the local council to request a rapid building assessment.
  • If your building is damaged, you should contact your insurance company to request an assessment.
  • To find information about rapid building assessments in your area you should go to your local council website.

Disputes, determinations and appeals

Where authorised officials have exercised building emergency management powers during a 'designation' under the Building Act, a building owner may apply to MBIE for a determination (unless the decision was made by the Minister or the territorial authority acting on behalf of the Minister) on any decision about:

  • measures to protect buildings or keep people at a safe distance
  • notices or placards restricting the use of buildings
  • 'other works' or works for long-term use of a building.

When an application is made, decisions by officials on other works and long-term works are suspended until MBIE has made a determination, while any measures to protect buildings or keep people at a safe distance, or in relation to any notices or placards restricting the use of buildings, remain in force until a determination has been made.

A person who disagrees with the outcome of a determination may lodge an appeal with the District Court within 15 working days. The Court may confirm, reverse, or modify the determination, refer the matter back to MBIE’s chief executive, or make any determination MBIE could have made in respect of the matter.

Insurance and claims

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

Reach out to your insurer as soon as possible, there are likely to be delays as insurance companies deal with many claims

Make sure to take photos of any damage if it is safe to do so.

EQC provides some cover for emergency events on defined areas of residential land, where there's a current private insurance policy for the home, which includes fire insurance (most do). EQC have a range of resources available:

What you're covered for - Toka Tū Ake EQC -

Householders guide to EQCover [PDF 1.7MB] -

Building cover - Toka Tū Ake EQC -

Residential land cover - Toka Tū Ake EQC  -

Land structures - Toka Tū Ake EQC -

Storm, flood and landslip damage - Toka Tū Ake EQC -

New Zealand Claims Resolution Service (NZCRS)

Dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster can be extremely stressful for homeowners and it is important that they have access to the independent support that they 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.

Homeowners should talk to their insurer in the first instance and contact NZCRS if they have concerns about their claim or are unsure about the process.

Find out more information about NZCRS or discuss a claim with NZCRS -

Related information

Rapid Building Assessment Placarding System

If you are a tenant you can find information about what to do after a natural disaster on the Tenancy Services website, What to do after a natural disaster

If you are the tenant or landlord of a rental property, you can find information on your rights and obligations at or by phoning 0800 TENANCY (0800 836 262).

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: