Application for 2020/21 rates payment extension due to financial hardship arising from COVID-19 pandemic.

Apply for a 2020/21 rates payment extension

This payment extension is available to residents, businesses/farms and not-for-profit organisations.

You will need to show that you are experiencing financial hardship due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. You would need to provide information showing that your income fell by at least 30% due to the pandemic. That fall should be measured over a period of at least three months, compared with a similar period prior to the impact of the pandemic.

If you are having trouble paying your rates for some other reason, please call us on 03 941 8999 or 0800 800 169.

You can apply if you are the owner of one or more properties in the Christchurch district that you have owned since before 26 March 2020.

If you’re applying for a property used for residential purposes, you need to be a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident or live in Christchurch.

This payment extension is not available if you were in rates arrears before 26 March 2020, unless those arrears have been cleared.

Apply first for other assistance

Before you apply, you should have applied first for other assistance where that is available from central government and/or your bank.

This assistance includes (where appropriate):

You will need to visit a budget advisor

For residential properties, we will ask you to get a statement from a qualified budget advisor agreeing that it is realistic for you to make the planned payments. 

A list of free Christchurch budgeting services along with a map can be found on the MoneyTalks website(external link).

MoneyTalks is a free financial helpline supported by the NZ Government that can connect you with services in your community.

  • Freephone 0800 345 123
  • Monday to Friday 8am to 8pm.
  • Saturday 10am to 2pm

A payment extension may be granted for up to $20,000 of 2020/21 rates.

While the payment of those rates can be extended until as far as 30 June 2022, we don’t want a large amount of rates to become payable for you all at one time, so we will be asking you what you can afford to pay as a regular (e.g. monthly) contribution to those rates over time.

Those regular contributions can start off low and increase over time.

The application form asks you to propose a series of monthly (or more frequent) payments that would enable you to pay off your 2020/21 rates by 30 June 2022. If we agree to this plan, and if we approve your application, then as long as you stick to the payment plan, no late payment penalties will apply.

This is an extension of time to pay, not the cancellation of rates. You will still have to pay the full amount of your rates. This arrangement gives you longer to pay so that you have time to adjust your financial affairs without penalties building up on your account.

Your rates account will need to be up-to-date by 30 June 2022.

Any payment extension will apply from the date it is approved. If you have already accrued penalties during 2020/21 before your application is approved, those penalties will not be removed or remitted as part of this application.

Costs: There will be no interest or fee for the deferral.

Residential landlords: The owner of a residential property may apply in relation to that property, but only if there is a loan secured by a mortgage registered over the property.

Commercial landlords and tenants: The owner of a commercial property may apply, even where the property is normally leased. A lessee (tenant) who pays rates should ask the lessor (landlord) to apply in relation to the property.

Multiple properties: If you own multiple properties, you can apply for them together. Apply separately for properties in different categories: residential, business/farms, not-for-profit.

Termination of payment extension: We may end the payment extension (and begin charging penalties on unpaid amounts) in the following circumstances:

  1. On the ratepayer’s death (for residential property).
  2. The company owning the property ceases to trade.
  3. The ratepayer ceases to be the ratepayer for the property.

Council’s powers to collect: We have extensive powers to collect unpaid rates. We can take legal action to recover the debt. We can recover money from the bank that holds the mortgage over the property (the bank would add that amount to the mortgage). Ultimately we can sell the property to recover unpaid rates.  

We may register a charge over your land: We may, at our discretion, register the postponed rates as a statutory land charge on the rating unit’s title. We would do this at our own cost. In most cases, we would not expect to need to do this.

It’s important you give us accurate information: We will ask you to declare that the information you are providing is accurate, to the best of your knowledge. We expect to audit some applications to check they are an honest and accurate reflection of the ratepayer’s circumstances.

This application form is for a payment extension for the current rating year (2020/21).  We have not yet announced any payment extension for rates set for next year (2021/22).

However, when you develop your payment plan for 2020/21 rates, you will need to remember that your 2021/22 rates will still need to be paid and will be due on their normal quarterly due dates.

If you have a payment extension for the 4th quarter instalment of 2019/20 rates

Some ratepayers have previously applied for and been granted a payment extension for the 4th quarterly instalment for their 2019/20 rates (normally due in May/June 2020). That payment extension was for six months. If that instalment was previously due on:

  • Fri 15 May 2020, it will now be due on Mon 16 November 2020;
  • Mon 1 Jun 2020, it will now be due on Mon 30 November 2020;
  • Mon 15 Jun 2020, it will now be due on Tues 15 December 2020.

Payment of 2019/20 rates is not being further extended.  If you were granted a payment extension in relation to rates for the 4th quarter of 2019/20, then when you develop your payment plan for 2020/21 rates, you will need to remember that those 4th quarter 2019/20 rates will become due in November or December 2020.

Normal due dates for rates

Normally, rates are due in four equal instalments each year, with the due date depending on which area of the city you are in. You can check which area you are in by looking at your rates invoice. The rating year starts on 1 July each year.