Christchurch residents will be asked whether they support a scheme to postpone rates for asset rich, cash poor superannuitants.
On Thursday the Christchurch City Council voted to consult the public before making a final decision on a scheme allowing all ratepayers aged 65 and over and living in their own home, to postpone paying all their rates bill indefinitely, up to the value of 20% of the property’s rating valuation.
The consultation would happen as part of next year’s long term plan process, which would set out the council’s 10-year budget.
Councillor Raf Manji said he did not want to see people sitting in homes and not able to afford the basics, when they had equity in their home they could use to ease their financial burden.
Rates were linked to property values and many superannuitants who had been in their homes for years were struggling to pay their increased rates bill on a fixed income.
• The loan would have to be repaid when the home was sold. Annual interest and an administration fee would be charged.
• The scheme would be open to owner-occupiers aged under 65, but they would have to prove “significant financial hardship”.
• There would be no financial threshold for those aged over 65.
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