Rates to reflect property value changes

GLENN CONWAY
Last updated 13:43 21/06/2012

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Christchurch residents whose properties will increase or decrease in value over the coming financial year may have their rates bill altered to reflect the changes.

The Government said today it had approved an order in council that will give the city council more flexibility in setting rates as earthquake-damaged buildings are demolished and new ones built.

The Canterbury Earthquake (Rating) Order 2012 has been included in the council's draft annual plan, which will go before city councillors for approval next week.

Under the order, the council will be able to reassess rates during the year, rather than only at the start of the financial year.

It could reduce rates on a demolished property to land value, or it could increase rates on a property once construction was complete and the property was in use, or when the land was subdivided.

Currently, rates are adjusted annually and revaluations occur every three years.

Local Government Minister David Carter said the move created a more equitable rating base.

It meant rates could be more closely aligned with the true value of a property at any time.

"The Canterbury earthquakes have had a significant impact on the nature and speed of building activity in Christchurch, but this cannot be reflected in the current rating system,'' he said.

"The order in council will allow rates to immediately reflect changes in the rateable value of properties.''

The order would not affect those eligible for the council's 40 per cent rates remission on uninhabitable residential properties, he said.

"The earthquakes have resulted in Christchurch City Council forgoing a significant portion of its rating base. This is a way of collecting rates more fairly as redevelopment gathers pace,'' he said.

Mayor Bob Parker said the decision made sense.

"Thousands of demolitions and rebuilds will be carried out in Christchurch in coming years and it makes sense that the rates we charge actually reflect the status of the property," he said.

If the property's capital value was found to have changed, rates for the property would be reassessed on the first of the following month.

The reassessed rates would then apply for the remainder of the rating year.

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