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Understanding your council rates

One of the ongoing costs that comes with property ownership will be your council rates.

What do rates pay for?

Your rates are best viewed as your contribution towards the smooth running of the region or city in which you live. Set by your council, and paid quarterly to them, your rates are used to meet the costs of rubbish collection, public transport improvements, local events, and the maintenance of municipal facilities such as parks, libraries and sports grounds etc.

Some councils may include fees on top of their rates for services that are considered as part of the standard rates package by other councils. Many regions include a charge for water usage in their rates invoice. The exception to this is Auckland where water usage is charged by a separate organisation (Watercare).

Where can I find the rates applicable for my property?

You can search for the rates levied on your property on your local council website.

Apportionment of rates:

As rates are paid in quarterly installments, it’s likely that a property settlement and ownership transfer will fall between one of those installment dates.

This means the vendor has probably paid rates in advance for a period in which they no longer own the house. In this scenario lawyers will calculate this difference and you’ll pay the vendor the portion of the rates bill that they’ve already covered.


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