Debt Management - Sale of Property Council Policy

Debt Management  - Sale of Property Document No:  CPL510.6
Approval Date:  15/9/2015
Approved By:  Council
Review Date:   15/9/2018
Responsible Officer:
General Manager Strategy & Performance 
Version No   03
Authorising Officer:  Chief Executive Officer 

1. Purpose

To outline the process involved in the sale of property in accordance with the Local Government Act 1989 to recover outstanding rates and charges.

2. Scope

All property related debts as defined by Section 156 (6) of the Local Government Act 1989.

3. References

  • Council Policy – Debt Management CPL510.1.
  • Local Government Act 1989.

4. Council Policy

4.1. Local Government Act Sec 181

The Local Government Act makes provision for Council to sell land or cause land to be transferred to itself to recover unpaid rates or charges.

Section 181 recovery action may apply if:

  • Amount due to Council in respect of rates or charges (including enforcement costs and interest) is more than three years overdue.
  • No current repayment arrangement exists.
  • Council has obtained a court order requiring the payment of the amount owed.

4.2. Sale of Land to Recover Unpaid Rates or Charges

The sale of any land to recover rates and charges that have been outstanding for over three years is regarded as a last resort enforcement measure to be undertaken only after all other Council debt management processes have failed.

In general the sale of any land should be restricted to vacant land or property that is not inhabited by the owner or a tenant. However, in particular situations of ‘non owner occupier’ it may be appropriate for officers to bring forward a Sec 181 action recommendation to Council, via a Council report.
Council should not be seen to be evicting or denying an owner the right to their principal place of residence by reason only of non-payment of rates and charges.

Consideration of Section 181 enforcement action for unpaid rates is either incorporated into monthly debt management review meetings or on an annual basis.

4.3. Council Report

Before any land is sold or transferred, a Council report with recommendation is to be presented and endorsed by Council.

The report should detail the circumstances of the debt including the status of the owner, amounts outstanding and efforts previously taken to recover outstanding amounts.

The report is to detail the steps required by the LGA prior to undertaking the sale or transfer of land and shall include:

  1. compliance with Section 181 (1) conditions,
  2. the preferred method and notifications of sale or transfer,
  3. distribution of proceeds,
  4. identification of persons having an interest in the land, and
  5. process of compliance with the Transfer of Lands Act 1958.

The recommendation and approval by Council should delegate the authority to make the transaction to an appropriate Council officer.

5. Quality Records

Quality Records shall be retained for at least the period shown below.

Record Retention/Disposal Responcibility Retention Periods Location
Rate Records Revenue Supervisor 7 years Corporate Records
Notice Before Summons Debt Collection Agency N/A N/A
Summons Debt Collection Agency N/A N/A

6. Attachments

  • None.

Page last updated: Monday, 21 September 2015