A helping hand for homeowners affected by August weather event: Rates remission approved

03/10/2022 11:57am

Property owners with red and yellow placards that have been unable to access their homes for 30 days or more as a result of the August weather event can apply for rates relief after Council agreed the event qualified for the Rates Remission Policy for Land affected by Natural Calamity. The policy provides a mechanism for Council to give rates relief on a case-by-case basis for ratepayers unable to inhabit their homes or buildings.

Nelson Mayor Rachel Reese says these remissions are designed to help relieve some of the financial burden associated with an extended period of not being able to live at home.

“The impact from this natural disaster has been felt widely, but none so much as by those who are still unable to live in their homes. Our priority remains to ensure all those who are able to return to their houses are being assisted to do so safely, but where that is still not possible, we are providing some financial relief where we can.”

Ratepayers who qualify will receive remissions for services that cannot be used while a property is unable to be occupied – water, wastewater, flood protection, and stormwater. A conservative estimate of the maximum rates remission for 2022/23 is $1,240 per household including GST.

All eligible property owners will be notified, and those who meet the criteria will be provided with an application form, which must be submitted to Nelson City Council within six months of the event to be considered.

While there is no remission on general rates, as these fund shared services that are not specific to individual properties and are still able to be accessed (such as roads, libraries, parks, and community facilities), the Nelson Tasman Mayoral Relief Fund remains open for applications for those in financial hardship who are unable to pay their general rates. 

Mayor Reese urged affected homeowners to apply for the Relief Fund if they had not yet done so or if their circumstances had changed.

“To help people via this Fund, we do not need to know the exact cost of the damage, we just need to know how you have been affected and what would be of use to you. We want to be able to offer financial help now, as we know there are many in our community who are under strain from the ongoing effects of the weather event.”

In addition to the rates remission, independent organisation Quotable Valuation (QV) will undertake a review of the impacted properties to determine if there is an adjustment required to the land and/or improvements value. Any adjustment to valuations will take effect from 1 July 2023 and could reduce the amount of general rates paid by these property owners.

To qualify for rates remission, properties must meet one of four criteria:

the property was issued a red or yellow placard or a Section 124 notice, and the property was uninhabitable for 30 days or more from the issue of the placard or notice, or

an Earthquake Commission assessment of the property has been carried out which confirms the conditions and criteria of the Rates Remission Policy have been met, or

a certificate under the Earthquake Commission Act 1993 is placed on the title of the property, or
a property has been removed due to the weather event, which has resulted in the Section 133 or Section 124 notice being lifted.

Remissions will apply as needed for up to five years after the commencement date, or the date that the land or buildings are deemed inhabitable by Council.