This paper addresses the legal frameworks and rules about what local and regional councils in New Zealand can and cannot do to adapt to the coastal hazards associated with sea-level rise and climate change. The focus is on what councils might be liable for in respect of housing affected by coastal hazards. It is part of a Deep South National Science Challenge program on Impacts and Implications for residential housing that is now – and in the future will increasingly be – subject to such coastal hazards. Its focus is limited to adaptation measures for residential housing; it does not address infrastructure nor commercial building or activities. It does not address the issue of what a council should be doing – such as whether it should be buying land for managed retreat from the coast, building sea walls or whether it should be letting residents bear such costs themselves. It does not address central government or other compensation mechanisms; they are the subject of other reports. Neither does it address the particular interests of Māori that are protected under the RMA, nor Treaty obligations of the Crown that might be relevant to climate adaptation; these matters are the subject of a separate report.