Rating sale on hold as house owner found

This Waitara house may be considered for possible sale today to pay rates arrears of $6977.96
This Waitara house may be considered for possible sale today to pay rates arrears of $6977.96

A man authorities could not find and who faced losing his home in absentia because of unpaid rates was tracked down by the Taranaki Daily News in less than an hour.

The New Plymouth District Council's policy committee is due to decide today the fate of Charles Richard Noble's home in Mould St, Waitara.

Officers have recommended councillors approve the sale of the house to recover outstanding rates of $6977.76.

The report said the house was unoccupied and significant effort had been made to contact Mr Noble, including placing advertisements in Auckland newspapers where it was believed he lived. All efforts had been unsuccessful.

But yesterday the Daily News visited the property and talked to Mr Noble who said he had been living there for the past 10 months and had not received any communication from the council.

He was, however, aware rates for the property were in arrears.

"My kids have been living here and they said they owed some money. I thought it was a couple of years. The deal was they paid the rates if they lived here. But they are in Australia now," he said.

Mr Noble had recently split from his partner and had little money, but he did not want to lose what he said was a family home.

Council revenue and expenditure manager Danny O'Donnell was extremely happy to hear Mr Noble had been found and would attempt to visit him this morning.

"At the end of the day a rating sale is the last thing we want to do. Now that we know he is there we would look at entering into some arrangement."

Mr O'Donnell said he had visited the property once and a process server had made several attempts to issue Mr Noble a court judgment ordering him to pay $4184.67 but all efforts to find him were unsuccessful. Neither did Mr Noble respond to letters sent to the address.

Mr O'Donnell said he would make a further report to councillors on the matter tomorrow. It was the first possible rating sale he had dealt with.

Taranaki Daily News