Recovery FAQs

Last Updated : 27 Feb 2024

Contents

How do I stay up to date with the recovery process?  

For the latest news and information on Auckland’s storm recovery, make sure you sign up for our regular recovery newsletter and keep an eye on the OurAuckland recovery webpage.


Property Categorisation

UPDATED (31/01): What are the property risk categories? 

The risk categories are different from the coloured placards that were assigned to damaged homes after the storms this year. 

Category
Description

Category 1

These properties do not meet the threshold for intolerable risk to life. They are not eligible for a buy-out or other financial support from council, but can access wellbeing and other support.

Category 2

These properties meet the threshold for intolerable risk to life. This category is split into three sub-categories:

2C: Community level measures to reduce the risk to life from future weather events.

2P: Property specific measures to reduce the risk to life from future weather events.

2A: Property needs further assessment - more information required to provide categorisation.

Category 2P property owners can apply for a council grant to undertake the property interventions.

Category 3

 

These properties meet the threshold for intolerable risk to life and there is no feasible intervention. Category 3 properties are eligible for a voluntary buy-out by council.

NEW (14/02):  Do we need to get a category decision on our property? 

The categorisation process is voluntary, but if your home was severely affected by the storm events and/or you had to evacuate your home due to flooding, we recommend you register for an assessment.

Updates and timeframes

When are we getting final property categories?

We have published estimated timeframes. We are unable to provide personalised timelines due to the large volume of properties we are assessing, the diversity of issues and complexity of the work.

How does the council prioritise different areas for categorisation? 

We are currently assessing properties right across Auckland. Where possible, we try to schedule site visits in an area at the same time, but we are not working suburb-by-suburb.  

The order in which we assess individual properties varies depending on a range of factors, including:  

  • whether the property was affected by flood, landslide or both 
  • where the property is and whether there are potential catchment/community level interventions available in that area 
  • whether the occupants have been displaced from their home 
  • the complexity of the engineering assessment 
  • when the homeowner submitted their assessment request form.   

Does the level of storm damage affect what properties get prioritised? 

The extent of storm damage may also influence which properties get prioritised and treated with urgency. 

Why can't you provide an indicative category response to some areas so that homeowners can plan now?

We are unable to provide indicative categories. We are focused on finalising and communicating categories as quickly as possible. The exception is potential Category 2P and 2C properties that require further assessment/more information before we can decide on the final category. We are giving these properties a Category 2A. Once we have the information we need, the property category will change to either 2C or 2P.

Are all previously placarded homes (including white stickered homes) to be given a category 1, 2 or 3?

Homes will only be assigned a category if the homeowner has applied for an assessment and categorisation.

If my property is placarded red/yellow, why can’t you tell me it’s Category 2 or 3?  

The placarding process and the risk categorisation are two different and independent processes – the colour of a placard doesn’t determine a property’s risk category.  

Rapid building assessments were used to assign placards. These assessments determine whether a building is safe to occupy and if it poses a safety risk to others based on the current state of the building and / or land. Following a rapid building assessment, a building will receive a placard. 

Placards (or ‘stickers’) indicate a building’s level of safety and whether people can be in it. Only authorised officials can place, change or remove them. A white placard means there are no access restrictions, a yellow placard means access is restricted, and a red placard means access is prohibited. 

As part of the property risk categorisation process – your property is being assessed based on the likelihood of impacts and risk to life during future severe weather events. This is the key difference between this process and placarding – this process is looking at future risk whereas placarding looked at immediate safety risks and whether your property was safe to be in now. 

This site assessment looks at whether there are changes that can be made on the property or surrounding area to reduce the future risk of serious flooding or landslides to the home. This includes considering Auckland Council’s proposed “Making Space for Water” initiatives for flood affected properties. If there aren’t any practical and financially viable solutions and there is an intolerable risk to life, then it’s likely the property will be Category 3. 

Included and excluded properties

My vacant land/section was damaged by the storms – am I eligible for the Category 3 buy-out?

No. If your property is vacant land and does not contain a “legally established residential dwelling”, your property is not eligible for categorisation, or for the council’s buy-out scheme for Category 3 homes. This is because the Scheme agreement with the Crown is focused on homes where there is an intolerable risk to life.

Are Kāinga Ora properties eligible for Category 2P financial support?

Crown-owned property is not eligible for the Category 2P or Category 3 schemes. Kāinga Ora is running its own process to assess and repair or remove homes.  

Will cross leased properties be categorised on a property level, or on an individual dwelling level, and if the latter, how would the buy-out process work? 

Decisions about cross-lease properties will depend on how flooding and/or landslip affected the property and whether all affected owners have opted into the assessment process. We will make category decisions on a case-by-case basis. 

Are mixed use residential/business properties included in the categorisation framework? 

Businesses are not included in the risk category framework. If your property is mixed-use (combines a business and living space) then only the residential part is eligible for Category 2P grants or Category 3 buy-out. We will assess mixed use properties in consultation with the owner(s). 

Will retirement villages affected by the floods also be included if they opted in? It is a business and not residential home but how will they be categorised? 

We will assess properties such as retirement villages on a case-by-case basis. The important thing is that there are people living there and these people are often vulnerable in terms of being able to evacuate from a flood or a hazard event. 

Work on neighbouring properties/shared issues

NEW (12/02): If the work needed to safeguard my home must be done on neighbouring land, does that mean my home will be Category 3 unless my neighbour consents to have the work done?

In circumstances where the mitigations for a property need to be done on a neighbouring property, your property will be changed from a Category 2P to a Category 3 if you can’t get the neighbouring owner’s permission for the mitigations on their land.

For Category 1 homes, the owner will need to work with their neighbour(s) to agree a way forward.

NEW (12/02): For properties in an overland flow path where fencing between neighbours may obstruct water flow, will council set general guidelines and rules to support neighbours to negotiate appropriate fencing?

Council has recently published a guide for homeowners that includes advice on how neighbours can work together to resolve issues on private property such as fences. Our advice includes placing fences and buildings away from overland flow paths and ensuring fences have a gap at the bottom to allow water to travel underneath. For more information, please read the preparing your property for flooding guide.

Opting out of categorisation

Can I opt out of the assessment/categorisation process?

Property owners can opt out of the risk assessment process at any time before a risk category has been assigned, by putting the request to the council in writing.  If you want to opt out, please send an email to propertycategory@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz as soon as possible to confirm your decision. It’s important to note that once you have opted out, you cannot opt back in to the risk assessment process and Auckland Council’s Flood and Landslide Recovery assistance programme.

Given the risks associated with properties affected by the extreme weather events, there may be long term implications if you decide to opt out of the assessment and categorisation process. We strongly recommend you seek independent legal advice before deciding to opt out. We note that your completed Flooding and Landslide Registration Form and a record of your decision to opt out will be included in your property file.

How can I appeal against this categorisation and become 'Uncategorised'?”

Once your property is given a category it can only be given a different category – it can’t be ‘uncategorised.’ This is because ‘uncategorised’ is not recognised in the Government’s risk assessment framework. You can appeal a category decision through our disputes process.

I completed the Flooding and Landslide Registration form but stated there was no damage to our property – why have you given me a Category 1, and can I get this category removed?

Completing the online form to request a storm-affected property risk assessment gives homeowners access to a free risk assessment. The purpose of the risk assessment is to enable the property to be categorised in line with the Government’s risk framework. Once you have registered online, we complete a desktop risk assessment, and decide if we also need to visit the property to gather more information. This process results in us giving a category to the assessed property.

If a property is assessed as Category 1, this means that no further action is required to manage future severe weather event risk. This is the lowest risk level on the Government’s risk framework – there’s no ‘uncategorised’ category in the framework.

Once we have given a property a category, we can’t remove it. A Category 1 won’t show on your LIM but Categories 2 and 3 will show on the property LIM. All categories will show on the property file held by the council.

You can choose to opt-out of the assessment process at any time before you get a property category by contacting us in writing. The fact that you registered and opted out will still show on your property file. Subject to confirmation by the council’s Governing Body, Category 1s are intended to expire in July 2025.

Risk assessments

I want a flooding assessment how do I make this happen and what can I expect?

You can read more information in this Our Auckland article: Risk assessments for flood affected homes.

I completed a Flooding and Landslide Registration Form, when will I hear from you?

Thank you for your patience as we work through a huge number of properties that need to be assessed. We apologise to those who have been waiting a long time and acknowledge how important it is to have certainty from us.

After your form is submitted, one of our engineers will carry out a desktop assessment. They will look at the information you provided in your form as well as anything else we already know about your property and local area to determine whether we can assign a government’ risk category or if more information is needed.

If the desktop assessment provides enough information, we will contact you to inform you of the government risk category assigned to your property as well as instructions on what to do if you disagree with our assessment.

If we need to collect more information about your property, we will call you to book a time to carry out an on-site assessment. One of our engineers will then visit your property at the agreed time to gather more information so that a detailed, technical risk assessment can take place. If an ongoing risk is identified during this assessment, the engineer will determine if there are any feasible mitigation or remediation options that could reduce or remove that risk.

Once the risk assessment is completed, we will let you know the appropriate government risk category for your property and next steps. The outcome of an on-site assessment and detailed risk assessment could result in a property receiving any of the government’s risk categories (1, 2 or 3).

At this stage, the timeframe to go from an on-site assessment to being provided a category is expected to take several months. Some people will be contacted sooner, others will take longer, depending on the complexity of the case (properties requiring both landslide and flood assessments), the area we are working in, and the number of specialists we have available. Each property’s circumstances are unique, and it takes time to work through the information.   

Please be assured that we are working as quickly as possible. Determining a government risk category for your property has significant implications for you and your future, and it’s not a decision we will make without robust technical evidence.

What is the methodology, the criteria and the parameters given to the geo-technical and flooding consultants to assess and allocate categories?  

For flood affected properties:   

When determining a property’s risk category, every property is different and needs to be assessed individually. 

Our Healthy Waters team and consultants carry out an in-depth desktop assessment using data held by council on the property file as well as information from the form submitted by the property owner. This includes looking at modelled and actual data of flood hazards on the property, mechanisms of flooding, water level and velocity, and if there is a safe exit point from the property during flooding. If more information is needed, then a site visit is arranged. 

The categorisation process takes into account the level of risk, and if there are feasible solutions to reduce risk on the property. Solutions are assessed to identify if there is a larger community benefit (like a Blue-Green network project) or at a property level where improvements will benefit the individual, or if buy-out is the only option. 

For properties with landslide and instability:  

For properties with landslides and instability, our geotechnical team uses the Australian Geomechanics Society Landslip Risk Management methodology (AGS2007) to form their assessment/report.   

The reports produced will advise us on risk to loss of life and well as risk to loss of property and based on the guidance in the AGS2007 guidelines, the risk will be determined as either ‘acceptable’, ‘tolerable’ or ‘intolerable’. This will feed into the decision of initial categorisation by Tāmaki Makaurau Recovery Office with guidance from subject matter experts from the Engineering Resilience team.  

You can view the report template used by Geotechnical engineers here.  

We recommend that property owners wanting to engage their own geotechnical assessment use this geotechnical engineer report template.   

Geotechnical risk assessments

Do I need a geotechnical risk assessment?

In some cases, it will be obvious that a risk assessment is needed – for example if the weather events this year caused damage. Other properties may not have sustained any or much damage at all but are in areas that we suspect may be at risk in future. If you are unsure or concerned about your landslide risk, we recommend you complete this online form.

What information do you collect in the desktop geotechnical assessments?

The desktop assessments involve information collection from property files, photographs, published geological information and LiDAR data to calculate slope angles.

What information do you collect through onsite geotechnical assessments?

The onsite assessments collect information to allow an assessment of the geomorphology (land shape), which informs an assessment of the ground stability at each property. In high-risk locations such as Muriwai there are also below-ground investigations and monitoring to provide detailed information on the locations of geological boundaries that affect slope stability. Where appropriate for the landslide style, engineers have created three-dimensional debris flow modelling for typical scenarios to calculate risk for homeowners.

What is the timeline for a geotechnical assessment when I fill out the landslide and flood registration form?

Click here to view our geotechnical timeline. 

Is the landslide risk assessment the same as what you would find in other countries?

Yes, the risk assessment follows the procedures outlined in the Australian Geomechanics Society 2007 guidelines, which represent internationally accepted best practice. More information on these procedures is available on the Landslide Risk Management website.

What is the difference between an EQC vs a Recovery Office geotechnical report?

While both assess landslides, an EQC report typically focuses on damage to the insured property. The Recovery Office geotechnical reports assess long term risk to life.

Does the risk equation in the geotechnical report take weather patterns into account?

Yes, we consider the weather patterns that are likely to occur over the next 100 years. This is based on current, previous and future weather predictions. We also consider the likelihood of drought, as that would affect land stability too.

Where can I find out more information on geotechnical assessments?

For more information on geotechnical assessments, read our story: Recovery office reaches milestone of 1000 landslide assessments.

Property visits

What can we read into the fact that we have had a surveyor out to look at the property?

A surveyor’s visit does not indicate a category decision.

After I’ve had my site assessment how long will it take to find out my category?

The purpose of the on-site visit is to gather more information about your property, so that we can carry out your risk assessment. The categorisation process is then expected to take several months.

The timeframe for each property depends on whether it is a single affected property or in a cluster of affected properties where a community level response may be needed. If a community level response is needed, we will assess the whole area to determine what is feasible.


Category 1

Why is my home a Category 1 when we had absolutely NO damage to our property or the land and we are such a long way from slips and risk?

Council’s flood and landslide recovery assistance is part of a one-off, limited response to the exceptional circumstances of the severe weather events in 2023, agreed with the Government to implement the Government’s categorisation framework. It is an administrative tool for the council to apply to respond to the weather events and is not based on a legislative or regulatory requirement.   

Participation in the programme is voluntary and properties are generally only assessed and categorised if the owner(s) opt in by completing a registration form.   

Once your property is given a category it can only be given a different category – it can’t be ‘uncategorised.’ This is because ‘uncategorised’ is not recognised in the Government’s risk assessment framework.

The Category 1 assessment is not an enduring state attaching to a property and effectively expires in July 2025, which is the duration of the co-funding agreement between Government and the council.  The category information will not be on your property’s LIM, but will be recorded in your property file, as required under the Local Government Official Information Act.  

If my property is Category 1 does that mean there is no future risk to my property? 

No, what it means is that the level of future risk is considered tolerable, but it is not an assurance that your property will never be impacted by future severe weather events or that there is “no risk”. 

In mathematical terms, ‘tolerable’ in the context of land stability equates to the likelihood of a fatality is less than 1 in 10,000. This is comparable to the risk associated with driving a car.  A higher likelihood of fatality is considered an “intolerable risk to life”. 

However, it is important to note that the level of risk you consider to be acceptable may be different to someone else’s. For example, someone may choose never to drive because the risk is higher than what they are comfortable with.


Category 2

Category 2P

How will I know what mitigation work is required for my property?

The work required will be outlined in the technical assessment provided to you as part of your risk categorisation. Each property will have different requirements to mitigate the risk for that individual property.

You will receive this assessment and a handbook guiding you on the 2P mitigation scheme when your final risk category is confirmed.

Who is responsible for doing the mitigation work?

Homeowners are responsible for the mitigation work on their property. This does not mean that you have to do the mitigations yourself, but you will be responsible for:

  • Finding licensed building practitioners to work with
  • Submitting applications for the two grants
  • Getting any building or resource consents required
  • Managing the completion of the works
  • Paying the invoices for the professionals doing the work, where required
  • Keeping records and documentation as set out in the grant terms.

I have never done renovations and don’t know how to manage this process. How do I get help with this?

We know that some homeowners may not be able to cope with the responsibility of managing a construction project.

You can use part of the construction grant money to pay for a project manager who can help you and ensure the work is completed at your . We can provide advice on this option during the initial meeting about the 2P process.

Can I apply for the construction grant if my insurer has paid for mitigations?

Yes, you can still apply for the grant, but any insurance or EQC payments that directly relate to the risk mitigation work proposed will be assessed to determine if the grant payment should be reduced. This information will be requested in the grant application form.

Am I still eligible for the grant if I have completed the mitigation work on my property?

You may still be eligible for the grant if you have gone through the risk assessment and are assigned Category 2P.

Will the council guarantee the work being done because they are funding it?

No. The grant agreement will explain that the council doesn’t guarantee or warrant the work you’re having done, and that the council won’t accept any liability relating to the work or the contractors you engage.

Who covers the cost if the construction work over-runs?

Homeowners will need to cover this cost. The grant is a fixed sum and will not be renegotiable in the event of cost over-runs. However, feasibility of construction is reassessed after the detailed design and consent phase is complete and a quote for the work has been obtained. This approach aims to minimise the risk of cost overruns.

Will 2P-related building or resource consent applications be fast-tracked?

The standard consent fees and conditions will be used, but a dedicated team has been set up for processing storm-related applications. If you include the word ‘flood’ or ‘cyclone’ in the subject line, your application will be allocated to this team.

When are we allowed to move back into our properties if we are 2P?

Whether or not you are allowed to move back into your home depends on the placard status of your property. This is because the risk categorisation process is different to the placarding/rapid building assessment process. Categorisation is focused on future risk to life, whereas placards determine immediate risk following the storm event.

Regardless of which category applies to your property, you will still need to comply with any restrictions on access where a placard remains in place.

If the mitigation cost is more than 25% of the property CV then will it be a Category 3?

The core policy objective is to remove people from homes that pose an intolerable risk to life. Where risk can’t be reduced to a tolerable level through Category 2P mitigations, the property will be eligible for a Category 3 buy-out.

If the costs of mitigations are above 25% of the CV can I pay the extra amount?

This depends on your specific circumstances. If the mitigations initially appear to be feasible but after scoping turn out to be above 25% of the property’s CV, you (the homeowner) will have the option to pay costs above the 25%. If you don’t want to pay the extra costs the property will be reassigned to Category 3.

Can I downgrade from Category 3 to Category 2P (or dispute my Category 3) if I pay for the mitigations myself?

This depends on the reason why mitigations are not considered feasible for your property. If the mitigations aren’t feasible because it is not possible to reduce the risk to a tolerable level on your property, then it will remain Category 3. 

If the mitigations aren’t feasible because they will cost more than the maximum the council will pay, but you want to pay the difference, this is something that can be discussed (as a special circumstance).

What happens if my property is Category 2P but I don’t do the mitigations?

If you don’t wish to undertake the mitigations and don’t want to consider a buy-out offer, you can choose to opt out. This means the mitigation work will not be done and the intolerable future risk remains. There may be long-term implications for you if you choose to opt out and we recommend you seek independent legal advice before making this decision.

If the mitigation work is not completed, a notice will remain on your property LIM.

Will there be assistance available if I cannot live in my property while construction takes place. For example, can I use part of the grant to pay for temporary accommodation costs?

No. The grants don’t cover temporary accommodation if you need to move out of your home while the construction work is being done. The Category 2P homeowner handbook outlines what the grants do and don’t cover.

Do we have to implement the mitigation measures proposed and recommended by Auckland Council? Can we get alternative opinions?

There may be other options that will be effective at reducing the risk to a tolerable level, other than mitigations recommended by Auckland Council. If a different option is identified by your engineer, it should be discussed with the council prior to applying for a design and consenting grant. If the council agrees the intervention is feasible (i.e. will be effective at reducing the risk, is expected to cost not more than 25% of the CV, and can reasonable be delivered within 2 years) then the project will be eligible for grant funding.

Does “the mitigations need to be able to be completed within two years” mean I have two years to complete the works, or that works that take longer than two years are not considered feasible?  

It means that mitigation that is expected to take longer than two years to complete is not considered feasible. This is because one of the specifications for feasible mitigation is that it can be delivered in a reasonable timeframe.  

If an engineering solution is expected to take longer than two years, it will not be considered feasible within the risk categorisation scheme. The property would therefore be Category 3. Discretion may apply to special circumstances.

More information about how this part of the scheme will be implemented will be considered by Auckland Council’s Governing Body meeting in late November. 

If a Category 2 property is unable to receive resource consent, will it be moved to Category 3?

Category 2P mitigations that can’t meet resource or building consent requirements will be considered infeasible and your property will change to a Category 3.

If my property is 2P, will I get help to rebuild the house rather than raising the existing one? 

Category 2P grants are only available for work identified by the council as necessary to reduce the risk to life for people living in the home. Any other renovation or rebuild costs will be the homeowner’s responsibility.

NEW (12/02): Is the Category 2P grant part of EQC or are they separate?

The Category 2P grants are separate to insurance and EQC settlements.

NEW (15/02): If our property is assessed as 2P or 2C but we do not like the mitigation plan, can we opt into Category 3?

You cannot opt-in to Category 3 if you do not like the Category 2P or 2C mitigation options. However, if the detailed scoping stage finds that Category 2P mitigations are not feasible, the property will be changed to Category 3.

Category 2P funding 

What decisions did Governing Body make on Category 2P?

Auckland Council’s Governing Body made further policy decisions about the affordability of mitigations for properties that may be 2P, and what funding could be made available to support property owners to do the mitigation work on their property. 

Part of the criteria for a property being 2P has been that mitigations on the property need to be feasible. There are two parts to figuring out if something is feasible:

  1. Whether an engineering solution is technically possible. For example, whether there’s enough space to construct a retaining wall, or whether the nature of the house means it can be lifted.
  2. Whether it’s affordable and if it can be delivered in a reasonable timeframe. While anything is possible if you have enough money, we needed to put a realistic cap on what could be spent on a mitigation.

The policy that’s been agreed is that mitigation affordability is set at 25% of a property’s CV.

So that means if your home has a CV of $1 million, mitigations that cost up to $250,000 are considered feasible and your home could be assigned a Category 2P. The mitigations also need to be able to be completed within two years. 

Find out more about Category 2P mitigation affordability in our explainer

How will financial assistance for 2P work?

The council will offer Category 2P property owners two grants through a Property Risk Mitigation Scheme:

  • a design and consenting grant to help homeowners obtain the necessary technical advice, consents and confirm the project feasibility
  • a construction grant supporting the homeowner to undertake the consented works.

The total value of the two grants (combined) will be up to 25% of the Capital Value (CV) of the property as at 26 January 2023.

Do I have to pay back the grant?

As this is a grant to you, not a loan, you do not have to pay the council back.

How do I apply for the 2P grants?

Auckland Council will use an online system called SmartyGrants to manage the grants. To get started on SmartyGrants you will need to create a free login and a secure password. Once you’ve set up your account, you’ll be able to log into your account at any time and see how your application is progressing.

If you don’t have a computer at home, you can ask a friend or family member to help you, or you can visit a council library to use a computer.

There is a guide to using SmartyGrants in Appendix 3 of the Category 2P homeowner handbook. This handbook will be sent to all Category 2P homeowners when they receive their final property risk category. It is also available on the Auckland Council website.

The scheme is due to open early 2024. We will advise all Category 2P homeowners when the scheme opens.

I want to lift my house up to repair the floor and protect it from future flooding, but I’m still waiting for my property category. If I pay for the work myself and then find out my property is a Category 2P later, can I get repaid by the council?

This is a tricky question! The good news is that the Category 2P Scheme does allow the council to repay Category 2P property owners for work they’ve done to reduce the risk at their home – we call this ‘mitigation’ work. This is different from home repairs such as replacing the floorboards and fixing walls, which are not funded through the Category 2P scheme.

There are a few important things to consider before deciding to go ahead with mitigation work on your property, such as lifting your house or building a retaining wall.

Firstly, your home needs to be confirmed as a Category 2P property to qualify for the Category 2P grant.

Also, the council will only reimburse Category 2P homeowners for work that it agrees has effectively reduced the risk to life at the property to a tolerable level. If you do work now and council does not agree it will be effective, then you will not be able to get 2P funding to repay you for that work. However, you would still be able to get funding for the work we do think is feasible and effective – and we will explain this to you if we decide your property is a Category 2P.

To apply for a retrospective Category 2P grant, you will also need copies of the technical reports, drawings, and any other specialist advice about your project, and all of the receipts for the work. The other key thing to consider is that your home will still need to be confirmed as a Category 2P property to qualify for the Category 2P grant.

We have published a Category 2P Homeowners’ Handbook to help you understand all the scheme details, such as the cost and time limits for work funded by the council. We will be proactively sending out the handbook to Category 2P property owners and you can find it on the storm recovery documents page on Auckland Council’s website.

In the case of the house and land both damaged by landslip, does the “mitigation” calculation include the cost of repair or rebuild the house OR the cost to only mitigate the land?

The mitigation we will consider will include all solutions available to lower the risk to life to a tolerable level. In the case of landslip damage, the solutions would generally be to the land rather than the house, however solutions will be specific to each property's situation.  For example, one option for flooding could be raising a house, where that is possible.

Will 2P mitigations be 100% funded?

Auckland Council will provide two grants to each 2P homeowner, to a maximum value of 25 per cent of the property’s CV. This means if your home is valued at $1 million, you can get up to $250,000 to pay for the total costs of making the changes to your property.

If the mitigations aren’t feasible because they will cost more than the maximum the council will pay, but you want to pay the difference, this is something that can be discussed (as a special circumstance). If you don’t wish to pay the difference, the property will be reassigned as Category 3 and therefore eligible for the buy-out scheme.

Will there be funding available for ongoing maintenance associated with the mitigation work?

No. This is a limited, one-time scheme. Any ongoing costs such as maintenance or upgrades of the mitigations in the future will be the homeowner’s responsibility and no further funding will be available.

What if the construction cost alone is 25% of the CV, but the Design and Consenting Grant makes it more than 25% - is it still Category 2P?

The maximum funding provided for both grants (combined) is 25% of the CV, but there may be opportunities for property owners to pay more than that. If you don’t wish to pay the difference, the property will be reassigned as Category 3 and therefore eligible for the buy-out scheme.

If I choose not to go ahead with construction after the works have been scoped, do I need to repay the Design and Consenting grant?

No, even if you have accepted the Design and Consenting Grant, you can still opt out once the scoping phase is complete.

NEW (12/02): How much do you fund via Category 2P? Is it co-funding or full funding to do the work?

The Category 2P grants cover all of the mitigation costs, up to 25% of the property’s CV and net of any insurance or EQCover settlements available for the mitigation work.  

NEW (12/02): If the homeowner is planning to rebuild their home, can the value of the 2P grant be paid out to the homeowner instead?

No. The Category 2P grants can only be used to pay for the work the council agrees is necessary to reduce future risk.

NEW (12/02): If a property owner has already received a payout from EQC will that be deducted from the 2P grant?

In some cases, EQCover settlements may be able to be used to complete the mitigation work. For example, for a retaining wall on the property or soil nails to stabilise a bank. These situations will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and if applicable the amount of grant funding provided may be reduced to take account of the EQCover settlement.

NEW (14/02): If I think my property is likely to be Category 2P, can I pre-apply for the grants?

No, you will need to wait to hear from us regarding your property’s category decision before applying for the 2P grant scheme.

Category 2C

NEW (12/02): What is the time period homeowners should expect for 2C mitigations to be completed? What work will be done for the properties that fall into Category 2C?

Having finalised the Category 3 and Category 2P schemes, we are now working on the Category 2C policy details. We will communicate more details about Category 2C as soon as this work is completed.

Category 2A

NEW (14/02): Is Category 2A new?

Category 2A is not a new category, it is included in the Government’s risk category framework. Category 2A properties are those that require further assessment/more information before we can decide on the final category. Once we have the information we need, the property category will change to either 2C, 2P or 3.


Category 3

Is Category 3 just for properties with a risk of loss of life from flood or landslide, or does it also apply to properties that are unrealistic to repair due to damage sustained? 

Category 3 is primarily focused on intolerable risk to life for properties directly impacted by the Auckland Anniversary floods and Cyclone Gabrielle, however there are potential exceptions where a property has been damaged and is unrealistic to repair. In most cases where a property was damaged and is unrealistic to repair, it is likely that the future risk is intolerable. 

If my property is a Category 3, can I continue to live in it? 

If your property is Category 3, it means we have assessed that there is an intolerable risk of injury or death associated with living in your property and it is not feasible to mitigate that risk to a tolerable level. However, as the risk categorisation process is voluntary you can continue to live in your home instead of opting into the proposed buyout scheme, at your own risk.

If your preference is to remain in your property despite the intolerable risk to life, we recommend that you discuss your situation with your insurance provider.

It is important to remember that the risk categorisation process is different to the placarding (RBA – rapid building assessment) process. Categorisation is focused on future risk to life, whereas placards determine immediate risk. Regardless of which Category applies to your property, you will still need to comply with any restrictions on access where a placard remains in place.

Why does Auckland Council need to buy category 3 properties?

An intolerable level of risk now exists for some residential households as a result of two extreme weather events in January and February 2023. For properties that have been identified as category 3, the level of risk to life cannot reliably or affordably be mitigated by property level or community level physical works. Without support to move, these households are also highly likely to become entrenched in a disaster-rebuild-disaster cycle, where loss of life is possible.

As part of the cost-share arrangement with the Government, local councils in storm affected areas will buy the properties from the owners so people don’t continue to live in homes that are high risk. This is a voluntary process for property owners to enter into.

Why is rate payer money needed to financially compensate houses in a flood zone if they are insured? 

Even if a Category 3 property is insured, insurance doesn’t account for the land and future risk. So, while insurance helps people to put their home back the way it was before the storm, it doesn’t provide financial support for remediation to prevent the risk to life from storms in the future.  

Without support to move, Category 3 households are highly likely to become entrenched in a disaster-rebuild-disaster cycle, where loss of life is intolerable. 

If a neighbouring property is Cat 3, will council never allow another building to be built on that land?

Auckland Council will assess each Category 3 property purchased to determine what the best future use of the land is. The options we’ll consider include stormwater management, adding to neighbouring parkland, using it for work to improve storm resilience for neighbouring properties, or redevelopment.

NEW (12/02): Are Category 3 rental properties that are not able to be rented, eligible for any financial support?

Category 3 homes that are rental properties do not qualify for the government’s accommodation assistance as landlords have the option to take out ‘loss of rent cover’ when they buy insurance for their rental properties.

NEW (14/02): What are council basing the Category 3 flood classification on?

The council makes category decisions based on the process outlines in our ‘How we make category decisions’ guide, in our storm recovery documents.

NEW (14/02): Is it logical to say that if my neighbour is categorised as 3, then my property would likely be Category 3?

As assessments are done at the individual property level, your neighbour’s Category 3 does not necessarily mean that your property will be the same category.

Buy-out support scheme

What decisions did Governing Body make on funding for Category 3?

On Friday 6 October 2023, Auckland Council’s Governing Body agreed to enter a co-funding agreement with Government, which provides almost $2 billion worth of investment in Auckland’s storm recovery and resilience programme. This programme includes a 50/50 split of funding to buy-out Category 3 properties.

As part of this decision, Governing Body made several policy decisions that will inform how Category 3 buy-out offers will work. Governing Body made decisions on:

  • what valuation methodology should be used to determine the value of buy-out offers
  • whether there should be a “cap” or maximum amount that the council would pay for a buy-out offer
  • whether the buy-out offer will incorporate a “Homeowner contribution” (and whether this should differ as between insured and uninsured properties)
  • whether secondary properties will be eligible for a buy-out offer
  • whether the scheme should include a disputes resolution process (and in principle, what this should involve)

What is the buy-out offer? 

A pre-weather event marketvaluation as at 26 January will be used to determine the starting point for the voluntary buyout offer. Auckland Council will offer 95% of the value of an insured property, less any insurance payout (including EQC). This means that the property owner is making a 5% contribution towards the cost of the buyout. 

For properties that are not insured, we will offer at least 80% of the value of the property (up to 95% - the same basis as an insured property). This means that the property owner is making up to a 20% contribution towards the cost of the payout.  

You can make an application for council to consider your individual circumstances related to your insurance status. In some situations, council may offer you up to 95% (the same amount as for an insured property) if the council considers that it is fair to do so based on individual circumstances relating to your insurance status.  

This could be where there was little or no insurance loss, you couldn’t get insurance at the time of the events due to previous weather events, or you can show a history of paying insurance for the property previously.  Your property advisor or navigator will explain the application process to you. It’s done via an online form (or paper form), and it will take up to 25 working days to receive a decision about your application.   

To summarise, the buy-out offer will be the market valuation at 26 January 2023, LESS the insurance/EQC settlement LESS the homeowner contribution.  

A Category 3 homeowner handbook provides further information about the scheme. 

Can you confirm if buy-outs will be the valuation minus any insurance payments? 

We will offer 95% of the value of an insured property, less any insurance payout (including EQC). This means that the property owner is making a 5% contribution towards the cost of the buyout. This article provides an explanation of how the Category 3 offer will work.

What is the rationale behind making homeowners responsible for 5% of a Category 3 buy-out? 

The council offers 95% of the insured property’s value less any insurance payouts which includes the EQC.

The 5% homeowner contribution was a decision resolved by Auckland Council’s governing body, who considered the views and preferences of Aucklanders gathered through consultation in September 2023. This scheme involves a significant financial commitment from all Auckland ratepayers for the buy-out of private property. Setting a homeowner contribution at 5% ensures there is enough funding to support everyone that needs it, and that the scheme is equitable for those most in need and those who fund the scheme. It also reflects the risks that come with property ownership, which was again a theme expressed by Aucklanders in the consultation.

How will I know what to do during the buy-out process? 

We know that selling a home is stressful under normal circumstances, and that the buy-out process may be challenging for you. We’ll assign a property advisor and a storm recovery navigator to support you throughout the process. They’ll be your point of contact and can answer any questions you have along the way.  

They won’t provide advice on whether to accept the buy-out offer though. As with any property transaction, you should seek your own independent legal advice before you sign a Sale and Purchase Agreement.  

How long will the buy-out process take? 

The timeline will be different for everyone as it depends on your situation. For most homeowners it’s likely to take between three and six months from the initial homeowner meeting to receiving a Sale and Purchase Agreement. This timeline might be longer if there’s a valuation dispute or it takes longer than expected to supply all the required information.  

You’ll have a month to accept or decline the offer.  

Will the council contribute any costs for legal fees or other costs? 

A one-off contribution of $5,000 will be given to Category 3 homeowners towards professional fees, such as legal advice or an alternative valuer/valuation. At the initial homeowner meeting, your property advisor will explain how to claim this contribution.  

Will you consider my special circumstances in the process?  

We know that everyone has very different situations and that in exceptional cases, we may need to depart from our buy-out policy positions where departure in an individual case is consistent with our policy objectives.  

Decisions on Uninsured Individual Circumstances and Special Circumstances are at the discretion of council, and we will provide an outcome to homeowners within 25 working days of an application being received.

There is information about Special Circumstances and for Uninsured Individual Circumstances in the Category 3 Homeowner Handbook. Visit our dedicated disputes and review page on the council website for the special circumstances application form. This form will need to be downloaded, completed, and emailed to dispute@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Do property owners have to make a contribution towards the buy-out of the property?

Yes. For insured properties, homeowners will contribute 5% of the market value. Payouts from insurance (including EQC) will then be deducted from the remaining 95%. The outstanding amount will then be paid to the property owners as the purchase price.

For uninsured properties, homeowners will contribute up to 20% of the market value, which means the offer will be at least 80% (up to 95%) of the market value.

Is there a maximum buy-out cap?

No, there is no cap on the maximum buy-out value, meaning there is no upper limit on how much will be paid to purchase eligible properties.

Will secondary properties be considered for buy-out? 

Yes. Secondary properties (meaning it’s not the property owner’s primary place of residence – e.g. holiday homes and rentals) will be eligible for a buy-out. Many secondary homes are rented out, and since the intent of the policy is to remove people from places where there is a risk to life during extreme weather, any Category 3 homes where people live are in scope.  

What happens if a homeowner has already been paid out by their insurer? 

Homeowners that have accepted settlements from their insurance providers will still be eligible for the buy-out process. The buy-out offer from Auckland Council will be a calculation of the market value, less the homeowner contribution, less insurance settlement. We are considering the details for how to treat insurance money homeowners have spent on repairs to their properties.

What if I have already spent my insurance money to repair my home and now my property is Category 3?

If you have already spent your insurance claim payout on home repairs, Auckland Council will consider this as part of the buy-out offer and may top up the offer made to you to take this into

account. You will be asked to provide receipts for the work done and a statutory declaration that the proceeds of your claim have been spent in good faith on repairing your property. If you have spent your claim payout on things other than repairing your home, such as rent or personal items, the council will not top-up this amount.

How will you ensure the funding pool covers all Category 3 properties? 

We’re very mindful of the need to ensure all Category 3 property owners are treated fairly, regardless of when they receive a buy-out offer, and this was a factor in the policy decisions that have been made.

Within the agreement with the Government, there is an opportunity to seek further funding if Auckland has more Category 3 homes than expected.

If I’m red stickered and my house gets bought out, how can I get my things out?

If access to your home is prohibited or restricted because it is too dangerous to enter, we will work with you on managed access so you can safely remove your belongings where possible.

For properties that generated holiday rentals, will there be compensation for a loss of income or will this be considered in the valuation?

No. The buy-out is focused on removing intolerable risk to life for residential properties and does not compensate for loss of income.

NEW (15/02): If we accept the buy-out offer, will we be supported in temporary accommodation until we find a new home?

The category schemes do not cover accommodation costs, however you can apply for accommodation support via Work and Income.

Valuations

How will the value of Category 3 homes be calculated?

A pre-weather event market valuation as at 26 January will be used to determine the starting point for the voluntary buy-out offer.

Does a market valuation include the value of the home and land?

Yes, a market valuation will be assessed as if it was prepared for the purposes of selling your home through a normal property sale process. This applies to the residential part of your property which will be the entire property in most cases.

What is the market valuation methodology being used?

Details about the valuation methodology are available in the Valuation Brief for Auckland Council Category 3 Buy-Out Process (Residential Home Property Type). 

Can you please outline the process for property valuations?

Auckland Council will appoint and pay for a registered valuer to visit your property to assess its value. If access to your property is not possible – for example if the home is red placarded or was demolished – the property adviser will explain how the valuation will be arrived at.

The property will be valued as at 26 January 2023, being the day before the first of the 2023 extreme weather events that impacted Tāmaki Makaurau. This means the valuation will not take into account the damage caused to your property by the storms.

More information is available on our explainer.

What happens if I’m not happy with the market valuation?  

If you’re unhappy with the valuation in your offer you can dispute this, and your property advisor will explain how to do this when you get your offer. There’s a simple online form (paper version available) to fill in to raise a dispute.  

The first step of the dispute process will be a review of the valuation that’s been provided by the registered valuer. This review will be done internally, and the outcome of the review will be notified to you.  

If you’re unhappy with the outcome of the internal review, you can seek a further review through an external panel of property and valuation experts.  

A guidance document with information about the disputes process is included in the Category 3 Homeowner Handbook which is provided to property owners at the time of confirming their Category 3 status.  

NEW (12/02): Why are Category 3 properties valued as of 26 January and not property CV like the Category 2 mitigation?

26 January 2023 is the pre-weather event date for a market valuation which will determine the starting point for the voluntary buy-out offer.

When deciding the Scheme’s scope and rules, the Governing Body had to achieve a balance based on key considerations, including consistency with the policy intent, affordability, and equity for both those people most in need and those who fund the scheme.


Disputes

What can a property owner dispute?

Property owners can dispute:

  • the property category they are given
  • the market valuation (as at 26 January 2023) to be used in the buy-out offer.

A property owner can also dispute the outcome of an application made under the special circumstances provision or the outcome of a decision relating to the individual circumstance of an uninsured homeowner.

How long does a property owner have to dispute their property categorisation or valuation?

Property owners have three months from receiving their property categorisation to dispute the category. This timeline recognises that property owners will want to thoroughly consider the category given and seek their own advice about it.

Property owners have one month after receiving the market valuation to dispute the valuation.

How do you raise a dispute?

We recognise the importance of having a process by which people can seek review of these decisions.

To raise a category dispute, complete this form and email it to recoveryreview@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz  

Does a property owner need legal advice to raise a dispute?

Not specifically to raise a dispute but we recommend that all property owners should seek independent advice from an expert if required. 

How long will disputes take to be resolved?

The timeline will be different for every dispute as it depends on the situation. A response will be provided as soon as possible but some will be more complex than others.

Is there an option for an independent review if a property owner is not happy with the internal council review of a dispute?

For a categorisation dispute, there is an option to seek a further external review which will be undertaken by an independent expert. That independent decision is final.

For a valuation dispute , the homeowner has one month after receiving the outcome of the internal review to apply to have the valuation dispute determined by an independent valuer of their choosing from council’s panel of approved experts subject to availability. That independent decision is final.

How can impacted communities participate in discussions about the set-up of the disputes process?

The dispute resolution framework has been approved by Auckland Council’s Storm Recovery Political Advisory Group and includes an option for a review by an independent expert.

What is the difference between Special Circumstances and disputes? is there a different process and/or criteria? 

We know that everyone has very different situations, so property owners are able to apply to have their special circumstances considered. In exceptional cases, the council may need to depart from the buy-out policy positions where departure in an individual case is consistent with the council’s policy objectives. 

Special circumstances decisions will be made in line with council’s Guidance on the Application of Special Circumstances, which is included in the Category 3 Homeowner Handbook. A copy of this handbook is provided to property owners at the time of confirming their Category 3 status.

A Special Circumstances application can be made at any stage in the process and is different to a dispute where the owner is specifically unhappy with a decision the council has made - for example, the property category they are given and/or the market valuation. The special circumstances form needs to be downloaded, completed and emailed to dispute@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz


Wellbeing and financial support

NEW (15/02): What immediate support or interim measures is the Council offering to homeowner who are still in a state of limbo? How can we mitigate the financial and emotional strain during this extended period of uncertainty?

The Recovery Office provides a storm recovery navigation service to support people affected by the 2023 storms. Phone 09 884 2070 or email navigators@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz if you have been impacted by the storm events in any way and want to discuss support option for mental health, finance, insurance or accommodation.

NEW (15/02): Given the timeline for property risk categorisations is expected to extend to mid 2024, how will the council address the financial impacts this may have on homeowners?

The council had provided rates relief for displaced homeowners, and also advocated for storm-affected Aucklanders through ongoing engagement with government stakeholders. Information about accommodation support for people affected by the 2023 extreme storm events is available here. The government has recently announced an extension to the Temporary Accomodation Service

Navigator service

What support is the Recovery Office providing for storm affected people?

Visit the support page on OurAuckland to discover the support available to you. If you, or your whānau have been impacted and want to discuss support options for mental health, finance, insurance or accommodation, please contact our navigation service by:

NEW (14/02): Can you phone the navigators?

Yes, you can call our dedicated recovery phone line on 09 884 2070 between 7am-7pm Monday-Friday and 9am-3pm Saturday-Sunday.

NEW (14/02): What should I do if I’ve emailed the navigators but have not had a response?

If the navigators have not yet replied to your email, we recommend you follow up by phone.  Please see the answer above for details on when to call. 

Rates relief

Why is the council offering rates relief?

We are thinking of those whānau who have been uprooted from their homes and continue to face hardship and uncertainty. We recognise it’s been a tough journey, and many households are under financial pressure. Our rates support is targeted at those most severely affected to help ease the financial burden they are facing.

How did the rates relief decision come about?

On 27 July 2023 the Governing Body agreed to provide a 100 per cent rates remission for 2023/2024 for properties that are uninhabitable because of severe weather events in the first half of 2023. This decision was made under the Miscellaneous Remissions Scheme in the Rates Remission and Postponement Policy.

Does council account for exceptional circumstances that may not fit into the eligibility criteria?

Some applications do not strictly meet the eligibility criteria but may be granted by approval of the Group Recovery Manager and a Rates Manager. However, the overarching consideration is still whether the property is unable to be inhabited sufficient to warrant a 100% rates remission.

Which properties automatically get rates relief and which ones need to apply?

Rates relief was automatically granted to properties with red placards. Property owners can apply for rates relief in all other cases, including yellow 1, yellow 2, white placards and non-placarded properties. We need to understand more about their individual situation as these properties include a range of different scenarios depending on the extent/location of damage and stage of remediation.

Why does rates relief appear on the LIM?

Rates relief granted for storm damaged properties are directly relevant to the habitability of the property. For this reason, they are distinct from rates remissions granted for other reasons that commonly are to do with the rate payer’s personal circumstances and ability to pay, rather than any characteristic of the property.

How long does the rates relief data stay on the LIM?

It will only stay on the LIM for the ratings year the relief has been applied. The current rating year is 1 July 2023 – 30 June 2024. For properties granted rates relief by application, the information may be viewed on the property file.

Once the property is fixed and no longer claiming a rates relief, the notice will be removed from the LIM (e.g. if the property was fixed this year, the rates relief data would be removed from the LIM for the 2024/25 rating year).

When will this information be published on LIMs?

This information will be included on LIMs requested from within the next four weeks.

When will my property’s rating valuation be reassessed?

The properties’ valuations will be reassessed as part of the next triennial revaluation, which would then apply to rates for the 2025/2026 rating year.

Was anything else agreed by the Governing Body concerning rates relief?

Yes, those properties granted rates remissions for the 2023/2024 rating year could also have their rates remitted for the 2024/2025 rating year, providing the eligibility criteria is still being met as at 30 June 2024.   


Healthy Waters 

Why wasn't the stormwater infrastructure upgraded before the floods?

Healthy Waters has a planned upgrade programme that fits within the council’s allocated funds to continually replace and improve our stormwater infrastructure. 

Best practice stormwater management involves a primary network of pipes to convey water from everyday rainfall quickly away, with a secondary network of overland flow paths and flood plains to convey and capture runoff on those heavy rainfall events.

The complete stormwater network (primary and secondary systems) is designed to cope with the majority of rainfall. It is not possible, in any practical sense to design a pipe network to cope with extreme rainfall, these events will always result in some surface flooding. That is why carefully managing development in or near the secondary system is so important, for example, in the provisions in the Auckland Unitary Plan.

Blue-green networks

What is a blue-green network?

A blue-green network is a system of waterways (blue) and parks (green) created to give stormwater space to flow and help reduce flooding in populated areas. In dry weather the park can be enjoyed by the community, and during storms the park may flood, diverting water away from and reducing flooding to private property.

Please see the blue-green networks page on Auckland Council's website.

How are blue-green networks related to categorisation?

The number, location and scale of blue-green networks will depend on the available funding and successful buy-outs. Work to identify and scope potential blue-green networks sites has begun, working in tandem with the property categorisation process. The exact locations of the blue-green networks (street and property level) are not likely to be confirmed until after the categorisation process. This is because they are likely to be built around clusters of Category 3 properties where community benefits are greater. 

Will blue-green networks definitely be built?

Creating blue-green networks is one of the methods to reduce flood risk proposed in Making Space for Water, the council’s six-year flood mitigation programme which will be part of the 2024 Long-term Plan and if approved, will commence in July 2024. It removes people from some high-risk areas but can also reduce flooding risk in other areas.

The number, location and scale of blue-green networks will depend on the available funding and successful buy-outs.

Planning work to identify and scope potential sites for blue-green networks has begun, working in tandem with the property categorisation process.

When will I know if my property is in a blue-green network area?

Exact locations of blue-green projects are still being determined, though the property categorisation process is helping to refine areas to investigate. It will take many months to refine and confirm the blue-green areas. As locations are confirmed and we start to go through the design, consenting and construction process, council will engage with residents and affected stakeholders.

The earliest expected time for construction of a blue-green network to be built is 2026. As the programme is designed to be delivered over six years, most construction will take place in the later years of this programme, to enable discussion and negotiation with affected property owners and then allow for consenting and design processes.

Overland flow paths 

What is an overland flow path?

An overland flow path is the natural course of water across land, during heavy rainfall. When a piped drainage system is unable to cope in extreme weather, overland flow paths can become temporary, fast-flowing streams. Overland flow paths on private property need to be managed by the property owner. Advice is available in these guidelines.


Other

LIMs and property files

How are LIMs and property files used?

People considering purchasing a property carry out due diligence to assist in their decision-making process.  Two sources of information are the Land Information Memorandum (LIM) and the property file, both of which are held by council.

What is the difference between a LIM and Property File

LIM
A LIM contains a summary of certain information that council holds about the property. It includes information about building/resource consents, rates, building plans and whether the property (or a building on it) has a particular status such as an historic place designation. A LIM contains information on zoning issues and utilities. It identifies, for example, flood plains, areas of erosion or subsidence and other hazards. LIMs currently note if a property is Category 2 or 3.  With a few exceptions, documents that can be found on a property file, such as correspondence or reports, are not generally attached to a LIM.

Property File
Property files include information and documents held by the council that relate to a property. The property file includes full copies of resource consents and building consents (and original plans), rather than just the summary found in a LIM. Included is correspondence with the council about the property, including correspondence relating to categorisation. Also included are any reports or site assessments of the property.

How to order a LIM or property file?

Members of the public can place an order with Auckland Council for a LIM or property file for any Auckland property address. Our website explains the process for ordering a LIM and also ordering a property file.

Why are categories disclosed on LIMs?

Auckland Council has completed onsite assessments for these properties to determine the risk to life in the event of future landslide or flooding events. Category 2P/2C properties need interventions to make the property safe and Category 3 properties are considered uninhabitable.   

How will Category 2 and 3 properties be recorded on the LIM?

The exact wording is not yet confirmed. However, the LIM will note that the property is Category 2 or 3, and include an explanation of the categories, and advice for people seeking additional information.

How long do categories 2 and 3 stay on the LIM for?

Categorisation would no longer be noted on LIMs once relevant council actions are completed for your property (for example a buyout), or the scheme otherwise comes to an end.

What type of information shows on the property file for Category 2 and Category 3 properties?

The property file would disclose all relevant information, including:

  • the categorisation (the letter to the owner notifying this)
  • correspondence or notices relevant to a disputes process for the Category 3 buyout scheme, and/or the allocated property category
  • other documents such as technical reports/site assessments.

Why are Category 1 properties not disclosed on the LIM?

Category 1 properties have been identified as not meeting the threshold for intolerable risk to life. This means there will be no council or government intervention or contribution under the  flood and landslide recovery assistance programme.

Where is information about Category 1 properties kept?

Category 1 information will be included in property files. Property files include information and documents held by the council that relate to a property. Property category information in the property files includes records of any communication with the council, the completed online Flooding and Landslide Registration Form and any reports or site assessments of the property.

Do Category 1 properties have a flooding or landslide assessment?

Category 1 properties will have a desktop assessment. If a site assessment is also required, it will be to confirm that the property does not meet the threshold for intolerable risk to life. 

Are there any risks associated with Category 1 properties and if so, how do you find them?

Council information on natural hazards is disclosed on LIMs. Other sources of information include the property file and, where relevant, a s74 notice on the property title.

NEW (15/02): Once the yellow placard is removed will it still be on the property file and/or LIM? How long does the removal take once we have provided the necessary information on the work done?

When we remove a placard, we will send a letter to the homeowner confirming the change of placard status. We will also update the property file and/or LIM to say, ‘placard closed’.

Placards

What do placards mean? 

Placards are used to identify immediate safety risks to a property and to inform members of the public whether their property is safe to be in now. Placards are either white, yellow or red. 

A white placard essentially means that there is light damage or no damage to a property. For example, a small amount of water might have gone into the property causing minimal damage. 

A yellow placard means there is moderate damage. This might mean there is damage to the structure of the property and/or part of the property cannot be used. There might be restrictions in place, for example how long someone can spend on that property. 

A red placard means there was an immediate high risk to the property. This may be due to external factors, such as a large slip, or it could be significant damage to the property itself. 

Can my placard be removed from my home, and in what circumstances?  

Physical placards can be removed once there is evidence that the damage to the property has been fixed/the property has been made safe again. Your placard will remain on your property file, but once remediation is completed the placard will show as ‘closed’. This is the status that will appear on a future LIM.  

Key steps are as follows: 

  • After being issued with a placard you need to engage a suitably qualified expert to do a detailed assessment in order to fully understand and fix the damage to your property/ensure it is made safe again. 
  • Once the required work to fix/make your property safe has been completed, contact your case manager to provide evidence of this. If you don’t have your case manager’s details you can email: rbacomms@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz
  • The type of evidence required will vary depending on your property’s situation. For example, it could be an engineering report from a geotechnical engineer showing that there is no problem with slips; a structural engineering report showing that the building is now safe; or it could be proof that a builder has rectified the problem.  
  • We’ll review the documentation you’ve supplied along with your placard status and determine whether or not we need to visit the property again. A visit from council inspectors is not always required – it will vary from property to property.  

  • Once the review is complete, and the property is deemed to be safe, we will remove the physical placard. You will receive an email notification and updated letter with a change of placard status for your address, if appropriate. The placard will remain on your property file, but will be updated from ‘open’ to ‘closed’. 

Why does the placard status go into the LIM? 

The council has an obligation to disclose the placard information on the LIM report. It's our duty under section 44A of a Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act. The information will show up as ‘open’ if the placard is still live, and once the placard has been completed, as in the property has been rectified, the placard will show as ‘closed’. 

What is a LIM report? 

LIM stands for Land Information Memorandum and is a summary of information Auckland Council holds about a property. This includes red, yellow or white placards. Find out more here.

Remediation

What efforts are the council making to ensure that repairs to land and buildings will be prioritised (in the consent process) so our lives and homes can return to normal?

We recognise that getting repairs made as quickly as possible is a priority for all storm affected people right across Auckland. We have a dedicated team managing building consent and resource consent applications for properties that need repairs due to flood and cyclone damage. This process is available to both insured and uninsured property owners.

You can either speak with your allocated case manager or email regionalplanninghelpdesk@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz to discuss your application with our planning team. Please include the word ‘flood’ or ‘cyclone’ in the subject line and include your property address and placard details too.  

It’s important to note that the fast-track process doesn’t relax consenting requirements, all repairs will be subject to relevant building code and resource management requirements.  

To begin your application, follow our resource consent process 10-step guide

Will Auckland Council waive fees for resource consent/building consent for flooded affected properties? 

That's not something we're contemplating right now. We have implemented a fast-track process for storm affected homeowners applying for resource and building consent. It means you will be prioritised and moved to the front of the queue if you have a storm affected property. 

Will Auckland Council allow any remediation on council land?

This would be considered on a case by case basis with the Parks and Community Facilities department as the reserve administrator (where applicable) and manager of the park land. Parks and Community Facilities have a land owner approval process that provides a structured approach and advice for any proposed works.

Section 74 notice

NEW (27/02): Does a property’s category (from the risk categorisation process following the 2023 severe weather events) determine whether a Section 74 notice is issued?

No, a property’s category will not determine where a Section 74 notice is necessary. A Section 74 notice is only issued when undertaking building work and is determined by the location and nature of the natural hazard and the impact of the proposed building work on that natural hazard.

The categorisation process does not affect the council’s decision making under the Building Act (the Act under which Section 74 notices are issued). 

NEW (27/02): Will the council flag if a property is likely to have a Section 74 notice issued so a homeowner knows in advance of considering to undertake consented works?

No, but your designer and/or your engineer should be able to give you early advice on the likely impact of your property’s natural hazards on the proposed building work. A Section 74 notice is determined by the location and nature of the natural hazard and the impact of the proposed building work on that natural hazard.

Insurance

NEW (12/02): How do we ensure that the 2P mitigation works completed are satisfactory enough to obtain insurance in the future?

Category 2P works must comply with resource and building consent requirements, and consenting costs are covered by the grants. As with any building project, your builder will be responsible for booking council inspections and ensuring the work complies with the relevant building codes. The property owner is responsible for applying for the Code of Compliance once the work is completed.  

EQC (Earthquake Commission)

Can we get extra support from EQC or insurance companies?  

Auckland Council has no influence on EQC and insurance companies, however, we are working with these organisations to advocate on your behalf. If you have specific questions, it is best to contact these organisations directly. 

For free and independent support with insurance claims, contact NZ Claims Resolution Service by calling 0508 624 327.  

Questions about EQC need to be directed to EQC. You can contact them via the EQC website where you can also find handy guides, including a Householders' Guide to EQCover.


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