15 February, 2023

Pay up or lose your home

MORETON Bay Council is cracking down on people who refuse to pay their rates, by putting their properties up for sale.

Pay up or lose your home - feature photo

Item 6.3 in last week’s general meeting agenda (Wednesday 15 February) targeted the worst offenders. 

Mayor Peter Flannery said while most people are doing the right thing, flagrant refusal to pay rates would not be tolerated.

“This move has already had the desired effect, with the majority of debtors choosing to pay their debt or go on a payment plan, which is exactly what we wanted,” he said.

“Under legislation Council can recover outstanding rates that are more than three years old by selling the property but this is a last resort, we always work with owners to rectify the outstandings before embarking on this process.

“Through covid we did see a spike in property debt because we offered rate relaxations and payment plans to people experiencing financial distress, which successfully helped a lot of people through a difficult situation.

“There are only a handful of major offenders, most outstanding rates debts (83% of people) are in arrears less than $1000 and we are proactively working with those people to help them get back in the black. 

“We always send out reminder notices and encourage owners to contact us early if they are experiencing any problems, then we work with all property owners to try and facilitate a way that allows them to pay their outstanding rates without causing too much financial stress through repayment plans.   

“There is however a limit to what we can do in this space and the level of assistance we can provide.”

During last week’s general council meeting at Caboolture, Cr Adam Hain said relaxing rates during covid was “not a great move” because it has left many in large debt. 

“It’s strange times and there is a lot of hardship,” Cr Hain said. 

“We will do everything we can to make sure they don’t have to sell their houses.” 

If property owners have not cleared the total amount outstanding as per their Notice of Intention to Sell and associated costs a public auction will then be scheduled for June 7 2023. 

If the property is sold the outstanding rates and charges and associated costs will be recovered by the Council and the balance of funds will be distributed in accordance with the Local Government Regulation 2012. 


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