Information such as mortgage payment deferrals, moving house, home maintenance, and buying or selling a property.

Mortgage repayment deferral scheme

New Zealand’s retail banks are able to defer repayments for some mortgages until 31 March 2021. This applies to:

  • residential mortgages
  • agriculture loans, and
  • SME loans.

You have to be financially affected by COVID-19. These loans will not be viewed as being defaulted.

If you get a mortgage repayment deferral from your bank you may be able to defer principal and interest payments on your loan. Banks and customers have flexibility over the term of any deferral. However, the Reserve Bank’s  concessionary loan guidance will expire on 31 March 2021.

This package is in addition to what banks are already doing individually to help affected customers.

Key details of this scheme

Interest on these loans will still increase, and deferred interest will be added to the principal amount of the loan.

Banks will assess each customer that asks for a deferral. The Reserve Bank’s guidance is that lenders should only approve a deferral if: 

  • there’s a need for it
  • there’s a benefit to the borrower, and
  • the lender thinks there’s a reasonable chance of that customer resuming payments when the deferral period ends.

Banks will have different approaches to how they manage the process for customers to opt into a mortgage deferral. Those details, including eligibility criteria, will be available on bank websites.

Customers should contact their bank for further details or queries about the scheme.

Information for body corporates during Alert Level 2 and above

People living in apartment buildings may come into contact with contaminated surfaces in communal areas, or come across other residents who may have COVID-19. 

Simple guidance is now available for body corporates to support people living in apartments:

  • Close all communal facilities such as gyms, swimming pools and other communal gathering areas.
  • Ensure regular and robust cleaning, with particular emphasis on disinfecting surfaces in common areas, such as door handles, lift buttons and stair rails.
  • Place hand sanitisers at all building entrances, with notices asking people to use as they enter or exit the building.

If you’re a landlord, there are temporary rules for body corporate meetings.

The Unit Title Services website has more information (external link)

Place notices in the entrance foyer and by the lifts to advise people about this advice:

  • Only use the lifts one at a time, or with their household group.
  • Press lift buttons and touch door handles or stair rails with elbows or knuckles instead of fingers, or use disinfectant hand wipes after contact.
  • Make sure all deliveries are left at the front door of the apartment building for collection.
  • Post notices reminding people that they have to follow the government guidelines, in particular, maintaining a distance of at least 2 metres from other people, and washing hands frequently.
  • Ask owners renting out their apartments to ensure their tenants, including any commercial tenants, know all the body corporate’s rules.
  • Find out if there are residents who are vulnerable, over 70 years old or self-isolating in your building, and ask if there are other residents who could volunteer to support these people. For example, by collecting prescriptions or groceries on their behalf. We recommend any goods be left at their apartment door and all physical contact avoided.

More information for tenants and landlords is available on the Tenancy Services website (external link)

Moving house and home maintenance for renters and homeowners at Alert Level 3

Moving house at Alert Level 3

At Alert Level 3 you can move house.

Travelling into and out of regions at different Alert Levels to move house is allowed, but there are restrictions.

If you do move, you legally must take great care not to violate any Alert Level 3 rules. For example, we recommend signing tenancy agreements digitally, and we recommend moving house without any contact with other people.

Regional travel

Home maintenance at Alert Level 3

You can have a tradesperson come to your house to do required maintenance. This includes electricians, plumbers and builders.

Tradespeople and other workers do not need to wear personal protective equipment (PPE) when they come into your house, but we recommend they maintain physical distancing and undertake other hygiene measures like washing their hands and cleaning surfaces.

Buying or selling a property during Alert Level 3

You can buy or sell a property at Alert Level 3, but we recommend that settlement is delayed until after the Alert Level is reduced to 2 or less.

You can look for properties to buy, but we recommend doing this without face-to-face contact with real estate agents, owners or existing tenants.

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