Council chases rates arrears

SANDRA CROSBIE
Last updated 12:00 19/06/2014

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Fifteen properties are under threat of being sold because of outstanding rates owed to the Manawatu District Council.

The property owners collectively owe just over $165,000 in rates and have had legal proceedings begun against them, the council asking the court to rule that the homes can be sold.

Manawatu District Council principal financial adviser Colleen Morris said a court-ordered sale was a very prescriptive process.

"Most people end up paying off their debt before a sale is ordered.

"In the last six years only two properties have had a court order enforcing their sale," she said.

On average, at the end of each financial year, about $1 million in rates are in arrears. This is well under 5 per cent of the total $29m in rates collected. Morris said this percentage was low compared to other local authorities.

More than $500,000 from 285 properties has been in debt for over 12 months. Most owners of the properties have made arrangements to repay their debt, eight properties are with debt collection agencies, seven have had demands made to their mortgagee, six are for Maori land and two properties, both bare land, have been abandoned.

Morris said abandonment meant the owners of the properties couldn't be located.

Rangitikei District has more properties with overdue rates, with more than $800,000 outstanding for more than 12 months. Over $100,000 of it is more than three years in arrears.

Nearly a third of the debt has been referred to a debt agency.

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- Manawatu Standard

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