Appendix 3: Policy decisions for councils to consider when designing a rates postponement policy

Residential rates postponement.

Fees and charges

Should the council charge interest, and if so:

  • at what rate?
  • how often should the rate be reviewed?
  • how often should the interest be calculated?

What administration fees should the council charge and how will these be set?

Will the council charge:

  • a set-up fee?
  • a fee for registering the notification of charge on the land title?
  • an annual administration fee?
  • a fee to cover bad debts?
  • a fee for releasing the notification of charge on the land title?

Criteria for postponement

Should there be an age requirement, and if so:

  • what age?
  • is the age requirement absolute or discretionary?

Should rates postponement be available to owners of holiday houses?

Will the council offer postponement to ratepayers who also own another property?

Will properties owned by family trusts qualify to have rates postponed?

Will retirement village units qualify to have rates postponed?

Will postponement be available to ratepayers who have mortgages over their properties? If so, what is the council’s policy on the ratepayer informing the mortgagee?

Will the council require ratepayers to have been resident in the district or at their property for a certain length of time before they are eligible for rates postponement?

Other issues

Are there any rates that cannot be postponed (for example, water rates)?

Should ratepayers who move from their properties into retirement villages or rest homes, without selling the property that rates have been postponed against, be required to pay their postponed rates?

Will the council require ratepayers who are postponing their rates to keep up the maintenance of their houses, and how would this be monitored?

Does the ratepayer or the council bear the risk of the value of postponed rates exceeding the value of the property that they are postponed against?

Will the council offer partial postponement, and, if so, how will it decide what proportion of the rates to postpone?

Will ratepayers who postpone their rates have an automatic right to continued postponement in the event that the policy changes?

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