Rates Forced Sell Off Avoided

Talk next time perhaps?

From Auckland Council

Rate issue solved just as section about to be sold

An Auckland ratepayer who owed $59.393 for rates and penalties and was on the verge of having their section sold by auction has avoided that that outcome.

The vacant Belmont section was to have been sold today by Barfoot and Thompson on the orders of the High Court. The auction was withdrawn after the debt was paid.

The owners had made no rates payments since 31 March 2005 and Auckland Council had exhausted all attempts to recover the money.

Auckland Council’s Manager Litigation and Regulatory, James Hassall, says it’s a great outcome for all concerned and a timely reminder that those with rates owing should not leave it until it gets to the point of legal action which could result in the ratepayer having their property sold.

“Having a property sold so the Council can recover the outstanding rates is not the Council’s desired course of action and there are plenty of opportunities for affected ratepayers to talk to us about working through their issues.”

Today’s scheduled auction would have been the first of an historical list of large overdue rates that the council is working through using a court process. There are seven other cases pending for large amounts.

Parliament granted local authorities broad powers under the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 to assess, levy and collect rates.  In exercising these powers, the rating sale process is used only as a last resort where rates have not been paid.

Auckland Council’s General Manager Finance, Kevin Ramsay says that the council works hard to assist ratepayers who have genuine hardship issues. In total, 20,051 Auckland ratepayers qualified for a rates rebate last rating year. In addition Auckland Council agreed to 337 rates payments being postponed.

“If a ratepayer is experiencing hardship, they are encouraged to contact council to discuss their situation and the various payment options available to them. We have a rates customer service and credit control team set up to deal with these situations.”

Full details about all the schemes available and application details can be found on the council’s website under rates.

“We believe it is important to ensure fairness and equity for all ratepayers and so it is unfair that those who pay their rates regularly are subsidising those who do not.”

Four rates invoices are sent throughout the year along with about seven reminder letters if rates are not cleared by the four instalment due dates.