Rates up for flood victims

LIZ MCDONALD
Last updated 05:00 18/03/2014
Diane Shannon’
ANNA PEARSON/ Fairfax NZ

WATERLOGGED: Carrick St resident Diane Shannon’s rating valuation has jumped from $305,000 to $369,000, a rise of 18 per cent.

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Christchurch residents still trying to dry out their flooded homes are upset at the prospect of rates hikes.

Rating values have jumped about 20 per cent in much of the Flockton cluster in Mairehau-St Albans, where houses have flooded up to three times since the earthquakes.

Property valuers have described houses in the area as unsaleable unless the problem is fixed. At least one sale in the neighbourhood has already collapsed, with insurers refusing cover because of the March 5 flood.

Two weeks ago Alison Naylor had almost 15cm of water through her Francis Ave house, and yesterday she learned her rating valuation had jumped 20 per cent. This will mean an above-average rates rise in July.

"That's a huge jump. We're going to have hiked up rates, and what are they doing?" asked Naylor, who has been evacuated to a rest home and has not yet been able to return to her waterlogged home.

"There's nothing been done in three years, so how can they justify putting our rates up? It would OK if they had done stuff, but they haven't."

She said the Christchurch City Council had been promised fast information with action to follow, but no-one had any idea what would be done. Residents were paying for drainage that did not work.

Jo Byrne from nearby Carrick St said the revaluations were "just pie in the sky".

"That land's not worth much at all.

"It's dead in the water, really.

"It will be impossible to sell until we get some long-term insurance. We're pretty much stuck".

The issue of seeking rates discounts was to be discussed at a upcoming community meeting, and one resident had already been on a rates strike since the quakes, Byrne said.

Neighbour Diane Shannon had water came up through the floorboards of her house a fortnight ago - now her rating valuation has jumped from $305,000 to $369,000, a rise of 18 per cent.

"It's not taking into account the damage that has been done to our properties in the earthquakes," Shannon said.

She said the whole area had dropped in the earthquakes, leading to the regular flooding. As well, the flood risk means she now has a $10,000 excess on her contents insurance, up from $200.

An estimated 400 homes were affected by the latest floods, with the Flockton cluster and other low-lying areas hard hit as well as river suburbs.

Property valuer Bevan Fleming said market values had taken a hit now that the Flockton area had been tagged flood-prone.

"Any uncertainty like that is too much of a risk in the market. Buyers will just go somewhere else."

He said rating revaluations were done by computer and not meant to give an accurate market value, but some of the revaluations this time showed "massive fluctuations".

Fleming said owners facing big rates rises could object to their valuations, but there was also the Government precedent of paying rating valuations to red-zoners to consider, he said.

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