More than 30 properties could be sold by Moreton Bay Regional Council in June in a bid to cover rates and charges that have not been paid for more than three years.
Finance and corporate services director Donna Gregory told the February 15 Council meeting the decision to sell properties where owners had failed to pay rates was not taken lightly and was the final stage of a long and thorough process.
“This is a last resort for Council,” Ms Gregory said.
“These property owners have arrears in excess of three years old and over the last six months in particular we have been attempting to work with these property owners to clear those arrears to avoid this action being taken.
“But unfortunately the list that is before you is where we have not been successful in trying to do that.”
Working with owners
Mayor Peter Flannery said Council would continue to work with owners to resolve payments before the properties were sold.
“People who are willing to do the right thing and come up with a payment plan to show that they have the intent to pay for this bill, then we are able to accommodate them and take them off that list,” he said.
“This is to target people who have no intention of paying their rates.”
Ms Gregory said the owners involved would be given another three months to clear their arrears before Council moved to the next stage of the process, with an auction date of June 7 set for properties where charges remained outstanding.
She said the number of properties with long-term money owing was larger than usual because of reprieves given during COVID-19 and following extreme weather and flooding in February last year.
“We paused that process to give people some more breathing room.”
Ms Gregory said when the current recovery round began, 352 properties were more than three years in arrears, but that number had shrunk significantly and she anticipated payments for more would be resolved prior to Council’s auction date.
There are currently 32 unmortgaged properties on Council’s list, with an unspecified number of properties with mortgages that could be sold.
Owners have received standard reminders each quarter, two additional letters advising of their possible inclusion in the sale of property process and phone calls from Council to ensure they understand the seriousness of the process and are aware of payment options.
A letter was also sent to the mortgagees of all properties in January advising them of Council’s actions.
If a property is sold, the outstanding rates and charges and associated costs will be recovered by the Council and the remainder distributed in accordance with the Local Government Regulation 2012, which sets out the order in which claimants must be paid.
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