Property ownership details
Local councils have publicly available Rating Information Databases (RIDs). These databases hold rating information about addresses – including property owner details.
Anyone can visit the council offices and find out the owner and postal details for a specific property. This information is also available on websites such as Quotable Value New Zealand (QVNZ), where for a small fee anyone can request property ownership details by querying a specific address.
If you own (or are the rate payer for) more than one property, you will need to approach all the councils for all the properties.
Some RIDs are online, but these do not usually give access to owner’s details and postal addresses.
To keep your details confidential on a RID:
- Go to your local council’s website and check to see if they have a link to the RID database (usually found somewhere in the rates section and may also be called ‘property search’). Do a query on your property and fill in and submit the section on non-disclosure and confidentiality of your name and postal details, or submit online the withholding details form, or
- Go to your council office and make a direct application to the council for non-disclosure and confidentiality of your name and postal details on the RID database.
Land Information New Zealand
Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) holds the Titles Register which contains all property ownership details. LINZ is legislatively bound by statute to disclose property ownership details upon request.
The only legislative authority LINZ currently has to restrict information on their register is under the Domestic Violence Act 1995, which would require a person to present a domestic protection order.
There is an administrative process available to hide landowner information where there is an imminent threat to someone’s safety, where they cannot or choose not to use the domestic violence regime processes for having identifying information hidden in registers. LINZ requires independent evidence verifying this threat such as confirmation from an employer or the Police.
Recent changes under the Land Transfer Act 2017, which comes into effect in November 2018, will provide LINZ with legislative grounds to withhold information for a person’s safety. You would still be required to present evidence from your employer or the Police as to why removing your details is necessary.
In all of the above instances if the Registrar agrees to hide a title, it will be for a period between one to five years. This will enable you to seek independent legal advice on other forms of ownership that will keep your identity off the title (such as having the property held in a Trust).