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Ngā pārongo mō te hoko i ngā papanoho Rōpū 3 i waenga i te Kaunihera o Tāmaki Makaurau me te kāwanatanga

Category 3 property buy-out information between Auckland Council and the government

Last updated: 14 May 2024

You should know

  • We completed our first Category 3 property buy-outs before Christmas.
  • Visit categorisation update to find out more about progress of the buy-out process.
  • Rubbish and recycling collections will continue as normal for Category 3 homeowners who do not choose to go ahead with a voluntary buy-out. 

Co-funding agreement to share cost of storm recovery

The Governing Body and the New Zealand Government have agreed to share the cost of storm recovery and resilience work in the Auckland region.

The co-funding agreement includes:

  • almost $2 billion worth of investment in Auckland’s storm recovery and resilience programme
  • a 50/50 split of funding to buy Category 3 properties.

This decision follows a public consultation about Funding Auckland's storm recovery in which more than 80 per cent of respondents supported the funding deal.

What the deal includes

Resilience projects

There will be $820 million spent funding projects that will help build resilience against future storm events. This includes the core aspects of Auckland Council’s Making Space for Water initiatives.

These actions include:

  • increased maintenance
  • stream rehabilitation
  • culvert and bridge upgrades
  • overland flow path management
  • the roll out of blue green networks in critical flood-risk areas.

Transport network recovery

$390 million will go towards the recovery costs of the transport network directly impacted by the storms.

Example projects include:

  • Mill Flat Road Bridge
  • access to Karekare and Piha
  • underslips on the Bethells Road.

Category 3 buy-outs

$774 million will be spent purchasing an estimated 700 residential properties where:

  • there is an intolerable risk to life
  • it is not possible to reduce this risk.

Get the Homeowner handbook

This handbook will guide you through the Category 3 buy-out process and help you complete the steps involved.

Government funding for these projects

$1.076 billion secures the cost-share agreement of government funding for these projects.

This includes:

  • 62 per cent of the estimated capital cost of the resilience projects ($380 million)
  • 79 per cent of the transport recovery costs ($110 million Crown funding and an expected $199 million from the National Land Transport Fund via Waka Kotahi)
  • 50 per cent of the cost of Category 3 buy-outs ($387 million).

Council contribution towards legal fees

A one-off contribution of $5000 will be given to Category 3 homeowners towards professional fees, such as legal advice or an alternative valuer/valuation.

Your property advisor or Storm Recovery Navigator will explain how to claim this contribution at the initial homeowner meeting.

Category 3 buy-outs information

Category 3 buy-outs: a step-by-step guide

Following the Category 3 policy decisions from the Governing Body, we have been able to finalise the buy-out scheme, along with the disputes process and how special circumstances are considered.

Step 1. Risk category confirmed

A detailed risk assessment determines what risk category your property is. If your property has a residential dwelling on it and is confirmed as Category 3, you are eligible for a buy-out offer.

Vacant sections are not included in the buy-out scheme.

You will have three months to dispute your property category or to opt-in to the buy-out process.

Step 2. Meeting scheduled

A property advisor and a Storm Recovery Navigator will support you throughout the process. They will contact you after categorisation and book an in-person or online meeting.

The meeting should include all owners of the property, plus a support person if needed.

Step 3. Initial homeowner meeting

At the meeting you will have the buy-out process explained and any questions answered.

You will be asked to formally opt-in to the buy-out process. We will ask for insurance information and whether you have any individual circumstances you would like us to consider if you are not insured.

If there are any other special circumstances that need to be considered, you can share them at the meeting.

Step 4. Property valuation

A pre-weather event date of 26 January 2023 is being used to determine the market valuation starting point for the voluntary buy-out offer. (A guide on the Category 3 buy-out process [PDF 357KB] explains this further.)

Auckland Council has a panel of registered valuers and we will be using these firms because they can quickly start working on valuations. Due to the number of valuations needed, we will be using several firms across the region.

Where possible the valuers will work in a place-based way to increase the consistency of valuations within a geographic area.

You can choose to pay for your own registered valuer if you wish. They will need to use the same methodology as the council-instructed valuers.

Having a valuation does not commit you to accepting a buy-out offer. You can opt-out of the process any time, up to signing a Sale and Purchase Agreement.

Visit Valuations for Category 3 properties for the latest information on market valuations.

Step 5. Offer decision

You will be presented with the offer, a copy of Auckland Council's valuation, and a conditional Sale and Purchase Agreement that sets out the buy-out price (based on the valuation, your insurance, EQC information and homeowner contribution).

You will have one month to consider the offer. If you accept the offer, you will sign and return the Sale and Purchase Agreement.

If you do not accept the offer, you can either dispute the valuation via the disputes process or you can opt-out of the buy-out process.

Step 6. Settlement

The Sale and Purchase Agreement will specify the settlement date for the buy-out, which is when the funds will be transferred to you and the property ownership is transferred to Auckland Council. You will need to have moved out and removed everything from the property by the settlement date.

The settlement date will be negotiable. Some property owners will want a quick settlement, while others may prefer a longer one. We know everyone has different situations, so your property advisor will work with you to find the date that works best.

Step 7. Post settlement

Auckland Council will own your property after settlement. We will be making decisions about what to do next with your property, which may include deconstruction or demolition.

Support for affected homeowners

We know that selling your home under these circumstances will be challenging for many homeowners.

All Category 3 homeowners will be assigned with a property advisor and a Storm Recovery Navigator to support you throughout the process. They will be your point of contact from the start to the finish and will ensure you have all the information you need along the way.

Navigator support is also available for tenants living in Category 3 homes. Visit Supporting tenants through storm recovery to know more.

If you need accommodation support after accepting the buy-out offer, you can apply via Work and Income.

Owners of Category 3 rental properties do not qualify for the accommodation assistance. Landlords have the ability to take out 'loss of rent cover' as part of their rental property insurance.

When we consider special circumstances

We know everyone has different situations. In exceptional cases we may need to depart from our buy-out policy positions in order to still meet our policy objectives.

You will be able to submit a special circumstances application. Your property advisor or Navigator will explain this process. Email propertycategory@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz for more information.

If you are not happy with the outcome of your application, you can request to have this decision reviewed.

Property owner contributions towards property buy-outs

Insured properties

We will offer 95 per cent of the value of an insured property, less any insurance payout (including EQC). This means that the property owner is making a 5 per cent contribution towards the cost of the buy-out.

The 5 per cent homeowner contribution was a decision made by the Governing Body following a September 2023 public consultation.

This buy-out proposal involves a significant financial commitment from all Auckland ratepayers and the 5 per cent homeowner contribution helps ensure the scheme is equitable for those who need and those who fund it.

 

See Householders' guide to EQCover for more on EQC settlements.

 

Uninsured properties

Uninsured Category 3 property owners are eligible for the buy-out offer.

For uninsured properties, we will offer at least 80 per cent, meaning homeowners will contribute up to 20 per cent towards the value of their property.

The council offer may be increased up to a maximum of 95 per cent if these property owners meet our criteria for special circumstances for uninsured homes.

We will consider these on a case-by-case basis.

Maximum buy-out cap

There is no cap on the maximum buy-out value. This means there is no upper limit on how much will be paid to purchase homes.

Secondary properties

 Secondary properties are buildings that are not the property owner’s primary place of residence.

Secondary properties in Category 3 are eligible for a buy-out. This is because the purpose of the buy-out policy is to remove people from places where there is a risk to life during extreme weather.

What happens if a property owner has already been paid out by their insurer

If a property owner has already been paid out by their insurer, the buy-out offer from Auckland Council will be a calculation of the pre-event market value minus:

  • the insurance settlement
  • the homeowner contribution.

We are considering the details for how to treat insurance money that homeowners have spent on repairs to their properties. 

How we will ensure the funding pool covers all Category 3 properties

We are very mindful of the need to ensure all Category 3 property owners are treated fairly, regardless of when they receive a buy-out.

Ensuring there is funding for all Category 3 homes was a factor in the policy decisions.

What happens if people do not agree with their categorisation or valuation

Learn about the process for disputing categorisation and buy-out decisions.

What happens to the land after it is purchased by Auckland Council

Land purchased in the property buy-outs belongs to Auckland Council.

After the buy-out process is complete and ownership is transferred, we will begin removing buildings. Each property will be assessed to see if buildings can be relocated or deconstructed rather than demolished.

We will deconstruct buildings where possible to keep as much waste out of landfill as we can.

Where possible, we will remove homes in clusters to minimise disruption. Once buildings are removed, we will assess how the land will be used. This process may take several months.

We will consider options including:

  • stormwater management
  • adding to neighbouring parkland
  • using it to improve storm resilience for neighbouring properties.

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