Cyclone and flood damaged properties – Government confirms that some homes will not be rebuilt

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The Government has confirmed that it is assessing communities and individual properties that were affected by the severe weather earlier this year to determine whether rebuilding should take place.

What we know

The Government has been consulting with local councils and insurance companies about the extent of the damage.  In some areas properties may face an unacceptable risk of future flooding or of unstable land that poses an ongoing likelihood of future landslides. These risks may relate to individual properties, or to communities as a whole.

Properties in the affected areas will be assessed as belonging to one of three categories. These categories will determine whether a house can be rebuilt, and whether any particular changes will be required.

Further consultation will happen with communities before any final decisions are made about which category properties will fall into. Assessments for low-risk properties will be completed quickly, so that repairs and rebuilds can begin. Decisions on the higher risk categories will take longer.

What are the three categories?

Flood and landslide affected properties will be assessed as belonging to one of three categories.

Category 1: Low Risk – All that will be required to manage a future severe weather event risk is to repair the property to its previous state. This means that once any flood protection near the property is repaired, the home can be repaired or rebuilt at the same site.

Category 2: Managed Risk – Future severe weather event risks will need to be managed by either community or property-level interventions. There are three sub-categories :

  1. Category 2C: Community-level interventions such as repairs and enhancements to flood protection schemes (such as stop-banks) will be needed.
  2. Category 2P: Property-level interventions will be needed, possibly together with community-level interventions. This could include installing improved drainage or raising houses.
  3. Category 2A: Significant further assessment is required to determine whether the property will be 2C or 2P.  This category will effectively only be a holding zone.

Category 3: High Risk – Areas in the high-risk category are not safe to live in because of the unacceptable risk of future flooding and loss of life. Homes in these areas should not be rebuilt on their current sites. In some cases, such as farms, the current land uses may remain acceptable.

It appears that the high-risk properties will be similar to those that were designated “red zone” after the Christchurch Earthquakes.

What we don’t know

There is no timeframe yet for when property assessments will be completed and when homeowners will know whether they can repair or rebuild their home. The Government wants to take the time to ensure that they are making the right decision, not a quick decision that will need to change later.

There is also no further information about the community consultation. This is likely to take place after the initial assessments are completed, so may be some time away.

When Christchurch homes were red zoned, the Government made an offer to the homeowners to purchase the property. The offered purchase price from the Government was based on the property’s rateable value (RV), and homeowners had a number of months to consider their position. The recent announcement has made no mention of compensation to be paid to homeowners who cannot rebuild their homes. We still have no information about how it may be calculated or how long it might take. It is likely that this information will only become available at the time that the high-risk designations are made.

We will provide further updates when additional information is available. In the meantime, if you have any questions about rebuilding or repairing your home, please contact a member of our Disaster Recovery & Support team.


Disclaimer: the content of this article is general in nature and not intended as a substitute for specific professional advice on any matter and should not be relied upon for that purpose.

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