Adjournment until December 21
From Auckland Council:
Auckland Council continues action to recover rates from Penny Bright
Auckland Council is today continuing action to recover outstanding rates and penalties owed by Penny Bright on her Kingsland property, which, as at 30 June 2015, totalled $34,182.51.
The council will today seek confirmation from the court of the amount owed by Ms Bright.
Following this, council intends to apply to the High Court for a rating sale to take place should Ms Bright decide not to enter into a payment arrangement with council. This process would involve a six month stand-down period giving Ms Bright time to consider other payment options available to her.
Auckland Council General Manager Finance, Kevin Ramsay said: “The sale process is an absolute last resort where a ratepayer refuses to respond to repeated requests to pay, and something we do very reluctantly.
“Throughout this process we have given Ms Bright the opportunity to resolve this matter in a way that would not cause her financial hardship, including the option of a rates postponement, and this option remains open to her.”
Background to Ms Bright’s outstanding rates:
- Ms Bright has not paid rates since 2007. In 2012, the Auckland Council obtained a judgment from the District Court for the amount then owing and used that to apply to the High Court for a rating sale of her property
- After the compulsory stand down period of six months and just prior to a the rating sale process being commenced by the High Court, Ms Bright applied to the District Court to have the judgment that formed the basis of the High Court rating sale set aside.
- Ms Bright was ultimately successful on a technical ground as an award of costs against her in previous proceedings was inadvertently included in the calculation of the 2012 judgement sum. However, the underlying claim for unpaid rates remains active.
Summary of payment options:
Aucklanders concerned about their rates bills are urged to make the most of the payment options available to them.
Options available are:
- Direct Debit,
- Rates Rebate,
- Rates Postponement,
- And assistance for the elderly in licence to occupy retirement villages and/or Papakāinga housing.
More information can be found on the council’s website.
- January 2008: A final notice for rates payment is sent, as well as numerous calls made to Ms Bright. Council discussed with Ms Bright the options for rates payment, including a rebate. During the final call to Ms Bright, she advised council she disputed rates owed.
- March 2008: A statement of claim to Ms Bright’s rates was filed in court.
- June 2008: A statement of defence was filed in court by Ms Bright.
- November 2008: A reserved judgment was filed which states Ms Bright is liable to pay the rates due to council.
- April 2009: A High Court decision awards $300 in costs to Auckland Council.
- October 2009: A final District Court judgment for rates and legal costs is issued.
- July 2010: A query from Ms Bright, regarding the age of construction of her dwelling is received. An inspection is carried out and a letter is sent to Ms Bright, confirming there is no impact on the value of the dwelling.
- April 2011: A charging order is placed on Ms Bright’s property.
- October 2011: A recommendation to proceed with legal action on outstanding rates is signed.
- November 2011: Notice of claim is served on and accepted by Ms Bright.
- December 2011: Ms Bright serves a notice of response on council.
- January 2012: Auckland Council serves information capsule to the District Court.
- February 2012: Auckland Council obtains a second judgment in Ms Bright’s rates arrears case as Ms Bright failed to, in response, file an information capsule to the court.
- April 2012: A second charging order is placed on Ms Bright’s property.
- March 2014: A notice of intention to enforce judgment sent after no contact or payment from Ms Bright.
- March 2014: In the same month, Auckland Council applies for an enforcement of judgment for rates via a rating sale.
- 9 October 2014: Ms Bright applies to set aside the default judgment.
- 10 October 2014: Two days later, Ms Bright applies for a stay of proceedings.
- 10 March 2014: Default judgment set aside following a hearing before Judge Harvey.
- 26 March 2015: Auckland Council sends an amended rates invoice to Ms Bright, minus legal fees.
- 12 May 2015: Auckland Council files an amended statement of claim, which now includes an application for a summary of judgment for unpaid rates from Ms Bright, dating from June 2006 to 11 March 2015.
- 15 June 2015: Ms Bright files a notice of opposition to the council’s application for a summary judgment in the case.
Action to recover rates from Penny Bright
The District Court today adjourned Auckland Council’s application for summary judgment against Penny Bright for unpaid rates, totalling $34,182.51, until 21 December.
The adjournment was on the basis that Ms Bright advised the court that she did not recall receiving a supporting affidavit from Council.
Auckland Council stated in court that it was inconceivable the affidavit had not been included in the bundle of documents served by the process server on Ms Bright in May, particularly when Ms bright confirmed in court that she had received a number of the other documents in that bundle.
Council subsequently located an email from Ms Bright sent in May to a wide range of recipients confirming that she had in fact received the affidavit.
Council this afternoon drew Ms Bright’s attention to the email and suggested that in the circumstances it would be appropriate for her to write to the Court advising that she was mistaken in her recollection.
It is like watching paint dry in Winter….