Earthquake-Prone Building loan scheme: eligibility criteria announced

Owner-occupiers of unit and apartments living in earthquake-prone buildings will have certainty about the financial support they’ll be eligible for with the release of criteria for an upcoming assistance scheme, Minister for Building and Construction Jenny Salesa says.

The Residential Earthquake-Prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme will help unit owners facing financial hardship over earthquake strengthening costs.

“Fixing an earthquake-prone building where there are many unit owners can be a complex initiative to undertake. Getting the finance to do this work can prove difficult if not impossible for some people in this situation.

“Without the support of low-interest loans like these, some unit owners may be forced to sell if they’re not able to earthquake strengthen their home.

“We’re pleased we can now give these unit owners some certainty by releasing the criteria for this important financial lifeline,” Jenny Salesa says.

Finance Minister Grant Robertson says changes to the insurance market and significant rises in insurance premiums following the Canterbury and Kaikoura earthquakes have pushed up costs for unit owners.

“By providing loans of up to $250,000 for unit owners, we can ensure more people can do the remediation work needed to stay in their homes.

“From today, unit owners can register their interest. They’ll be informed as soon as applications are able to be made for the loans. The key thing is that they know the criteria and can start having conversations with their body corporates,” Grant Robertson says.

Notes: 

To be eligible for the loan scheme, applicants will need to:

  1.  be a New Zealand Citizen or permanent resident in New Zealand; and
  2.  be a unit owner-occupier.

They will need to demonstrate:

  • they cannot get finance from a lender; or
  • if offered a loan from a lender, the owner is required to sell their unit when the building is no longer earthquake prone as part of the loan condition; or
  • If offered a loan from a lender, it would cause significant financial hardship.

The chief executive of Kāinga Ora also has the discretion to grant loans.

The Scheme is limited to units:

  • purchased before 1 July 2017; and
  • within a building in an area of high seismic risk, which is two or more storeys in height and contains three or more household units (or is a household unit within a mixed use building); and
  • within a building subject to a territorial authority-issued EPB notice.

Expressions of interest will be taken by the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment, who will pass them on to Kāinga Ora for contacting potential applicants when the scheme is running, in mid-2020.

You can read the full criteria for the Residential Earthquake-prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme or register your interest in applying, here: https://www.building.govt.nz/managing-buildings/managing-earthquake-prone-buildings/residential-financial-assistance-scheme