Thursday, August 24, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
A total of 10 properties are due to go under the hammer as the Whitsunday Regional Council auctions off properties with rates in arrears.
This is off the back of 13 properties that faced a similar fate in April’s auction, although only one property was successfully sold.
The properties, encompassing addresses in Collinsville, Bowen, and Queens Beach, must be in council rate arears of at least three years to qualify, and for the council to have exhausted all other repayment options.
“The process to auction properties only eventuates after every measure has been taken to help the ratepayers clear their outstanding debt,” explained a council spokesperson.
“Correspondence and conversations take place during the six months up to the auction date.
“Council works closely with the impacted ratepayers prior to this action being taken, assisting to facilitate payment arrangements before it reaches the auction listing.”
Once a property has reached this stage of arrears, the council can offer the properties as ‘Sale by Negotiation’, which “essentially allows any interested parties to reach out to Council and place their highest and best offer to purchase the property.”
In the case of properties sold, the new owner does not take on the existing property debts, as the reserve price is a minimum to cover the rate arrears.
However, as outlined in section 143 of the Local Government Regulation, the local government must set the reserve price for the property at either the market value of the land, or the higher of either the amount of overdue rates or the charges on the land, or the value of the land.
If the reserve price is not reached at auction, the council can enter negotiations with any bidder who attended the auction, but the sale price must still be more than the reserve price of the property.
“Setting of the reserve price is delegated by Council resolution to the Chief Executive Officer,” explained the Council spokesperson.
Once sold, it is the new owner’s responsibility to exchange titles and mortgage.
“Upon settlement the new owner should lodge the transfer document with the titles office then the mortgage should be taken off the title.”
In terms of vacancy and tenants, the properties are sold without specified vacancy.
“The property is sold as is, the new owner has the responsibility of getting vacant possession,” said the spokesperson.
“It is important for Council to undergo the Intention to Sell process in order to ensure that outstanding rates arrears aren’t increasing which puts a burden on all other ratepayers who pay their rates on time.”