Dangerous or unsanitary buildings

A dangerous building might:

  • be older and/or poorly maintained
  • be currently used for something it wasn’t designed for
  • have suffered a structural failure or be in a state of disrepair that means it could collapse.

An insanitary building might not have:

  • sanitary facilities such as functioning toilets, washing and bathing facilities
  • a potable (drinkable) water supply
  • a hot water supply.

What we do

We check:

  • if there has been any unauthorised building work and/or change of use
  • the standard of maintenance of any specified systems
  • the state of repair of building structures and services
  • the safety level of the building.

And we make sure that:

  • people use buildings safely and without endangering their health
  • people can escape from a building in an emergency
  • buildings are unlikely to cause injury or death to persons on other property, or damage to other property.

If there’s a problem with a building, our compliance team will work with the building owner to find a way to get the building back to a safe, healthy state.

What you do

If you are a building owner, you:

  • are legally responsible for ensuring the maintenance and compliance of your building
  • should employ a building surveyor if you think your building may be dangerous or insanitary
  • should take immediate steps to make sure your building, and any occupants, are safe if you discover the building is dangerous or insanitary.

Interested buyers and renters can:

  • ask an expert to check the building you want to buy or rent
  • look for the building’s warrant of fitness certificate (BWoF) in the foyer or entrance and check this is up to date.

For more information or if you think a building might be dangerous or insanitary, contact us.

Email: building@hcc.govt.nz
Phone: 07 8386677 

We’re committed to making our city safe. One way we do this is by making sure local buildings don’t pose any danger.

The Building Act (2004) requires us to have a policy on dangerous and insanitary buildings to help us identify and fix them. Read our Dangerous or Insanitary Buildings Policy (2018) below.

Related information


Share this page


Has this page been helpful?
Thanks for your feedback.

Last updated 10 June 2022