About Rates Rebates in New Zealand

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Some property owners are entitled to a discount of their Council rates – this is called a rates rebate. There are two eligibility requirements:

1) Your income must be under a certain amount each year;

2) You must be registered on the title to the property as the rates payer.

When you are recorded as the owner of the property, you are required to pay the rates and automatically satisfy the second requirement. But, what happens if a property is held in trust? Are you still able to get a rebate?

If your property is owned by a trust, the names of the trustees will be recorded on the title as owners. This means that you personally are not required to pay the rates – the trustees are.

In order to be registered as a rates payer on your title, your lawyer can register a lease instrument between the trustees and you personally if you are living in the property. This lease will record that even though the trustees are the owners of the property, you as the occupier will be responsible for paying the rates.

Then, once the lease has been registered, you will have to make the usual applications to Council for a rates rebate, but also include a copy of the new title and lease instrument. A lease will not affect how you can use and enjoy the home, but it will bring you back within the rates rebate eligibility requirements.

Can I still get a rates rebate for the rates I pay for my retirement village?

Unfortunately, if you live in a retirement village, you are not entitled to a rates rebate for the rates you may pay as part of your occupation licence. An occupation licence is only a right to occupy and carries with it no property ownership.

More information on rates rebates, including application forms, can be obtained from the Council’s website.

For more information on Rates Rebates, please contact Smith & Partners’ elder law specialist, Carolyn Ranson on 837 6891 or email carolyn.ranson@smithpartners.co.nz

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