Business owners have told the Christchurch City Council that waiting for a decision about the future of their quake-damaged buildings could ruin them.
The owners and tenants of six heritage properties told a special meeting of the council on Monday that their lives are on hold until they find out whether their buildings will be demolished or restored.
The council says that could take 18 months.
Saying that that's unacceptable, mayor Bob Parker adjourned the meeting until Wednesday so staff can clarify whether the council can legally short-circuit the consent process.
The affected buildings include Manchester Courts on Manchester St, the former Nurse Maude building on Madras St, and the architect Sir Miles Warren's property in Governors Bay.
The owner of Manchester Courts, which is registered as a Category One historic place, says it's too dangerous and too expensive to fix.
Phil Stanley, who owns the Treehouse karaoke bar at 160 Manchester St, says he is losing up to $15,000 a week in trade.
Options open to the council include buying the damaged buildings or working with the owners to repair them.