Rates rebates scheme could apply to all retirement homes
By Jeremy Smith
People who live in retirement homes may soon be officially classified as ratepayers and apply for rates rebates.
This might sound good to someone thinking of applying for a rebate, but the district council isn’t so sure. It sees the possibility of having to do more work to administer a national scheme and wants to know who would pay.
It will be putting some questions to politicians considering the change: officially it’s called the Rates Rebate (Retirement Village Residents) Amendment Bill 2016) .
Present scheme in Kapiti
That’s because the KCDC already runs its own Rates Remission Programme, up to $150, for people in retirement homes under a Licence to Occupy. The rebate money comes from the government.
The council says programme works well with the 10 retirement village Operators acting as intermediaries between residents and the council. The Thames-Coromandel DC runs a similar scheme.
But Kapiti councillors have been told that the legislation may cause considerably more work for council staff and possibly the Village operators as well in a council where 30 per cent of the population is 60 or older, the highest proportion in the country.
The extra work could mean extra costs being passed on to the newly designated ratepayers,
Problems for KCDC
The problem is that the KCDC runs a database on all owners who pay rates. But the existing council data may not identify retirement villages the KCDC knows nothing about.
And the property records don’t tell the council which individuals – about 750 of them with more units planned- are living in these villages under Occupation Rights Agreements. Council staff say there may also be some privacy concerns.