Fire guts Hawke's Bay house sold after rates dispute

The burnt-out property was recently sold after Hastings District Council took the previous owner to court over unpaid rates.
SIMON HENDERY/ FAIRFAX NZ

The burnt-out property was recently sold after Hastings District Council took the previous owner to court over unpaid rates.

Fire has gutted a rural Hawke's Bay home that recently changed hands after a long-running dispute over unpaid rates.

Detectives are investigating the fire, which broke out some time before 4am on Tuesday at the Colin White Rd house, just off State Highway 2 at Te Hauke, south of Hastings.

The property has reportedly been at the centre of tensions between its new owner, Alan Speer, and the son of the deceased previous owner. The son was required to move out following a forced sale after rates went unpaid for years.

A police officer inspects the remains of the house on Colin White Rd, Te Hauke, south of Hastings.
SIMON HENDERY/ FAIRFAX NZ

A police officer inspects the remains of the house on Colin White Rd, Te Hauke, south of Hastings.

A Hastings District Council spokeswoman confirmed more than $6000 in rates was outstanding when a court order authorising the property's sale was made in November last year.

READ MORE: Taranaki takeaways and Hawke's Bay house gutted by fire

Speer could not be reached for comment but his lawyer, Donna Carroll, said he was distraught and was busy dealing with the aftermath of the fire.

A fire investigator at the scene of a fire. Police are awaiting the investigator's report before deciding how to proceed.
SIMON HENDERY/ FAIRFAX NZ

A fire investigator at the scene of a fire. Police are awaiting the investigator's report before deciding how to proceed.

Detective Sergeant Glen Yule said fire investigators were assessing the scene on Tuesday.

Police would assess the situation once the cause of the fire was established, he said. 

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 - Stuff

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