Wellington residents moving back inside their CBD apartments today after being locked out for four months say it is "smelly but nice" to be back home.
Around 60 residents were evacuated from the Maison Cabriole apartments on Tory Street following the November Kaikoura earthquake, due to the risk of the nearby Reading Cinemas carpark collapsing.
Some businesses, including the Dragonfly Restaurant and Bar, have begun trading this week, while Joe's Garage and Posquito are among those opening their doors next week.
The long wait has its toll on residents, with many having to fork out hundreds of dollars to cover rent for alternative accommodation, body corporate fees, rates, new clothing and linen.
Almost half of the Tory St residents took up $1000 grants from the Red Cross and up to 50 residents across the city required some assistance from the council.
Maison Cabriole tenant Toby Jones told 1 NEWS he has spent weeks living in student hostels and at friends' houses.
"It's been crazy. They said it would only be a few days and now it's March," he said.
He and his flatmates now face a new challenge - cleaning up a mess four months in the making.
"There's so many bugs and flies and stuff everywhere. I don't really know how we're going to get rid of them," he said.
But they all agree being back inside their own home is a good place to start.