FAQs: What happens if rates aren’t paid?
What is a final notice?
If you have not paid your rates in full by 15 February or you have not paid the correct amount of your instalment and on the correct date shown on the rate notice, you will receive a final notice requesting payment in full or for you to contact council or ML+C to make an agreement to repay your rates.
If you ignore this final notice, you will receive a letter of demand.
What is a letter of demand?
A letter of demand requests payment in full or for you to contact ML+C to make an arrangement to repay your rates. You will receive a letter of demand if you have ignored your final notice and your rates remain unpaid.
If you do not respond to the letter of demand, your council will commence legal action.
What is penalty interest and when does it start?
Under the Local Government Act 1989, councils can charge interest under the Penalty Interest Rates Act 1989. The current rate is 9.5 percent per annum.
If you fail to pay your rates in full by 15 February, interest starts to accrue after that date.
If you are paying by instalments and miss a payment, interest starts to accrue after the date the instalment was due up to when the rates are paid in full.
Why has the council sent my account to you?
Your council has outsourced their overdue rate collection function to external debt recovery agencies.
Why did you send a letter instead of an email?
Your council’s process is to send a hard copy letter to ratepayers. If you prefer to receive your rates notices by email, please contact your council to register your preferred method of contact.
Why don’t you give me a call about my outstanding debt?
Each council has different collection processes. Many councils prefer a letter to advise ratepayers that their rates are owing, following on from the rate notice sent in the post.
People typically don’t give their phone number to their council. Please ensure your council has your phone number, it will be easier for them to ring you.
Why is my address incorrect?
As a property owner it is your responsibility to advise your council of a new address. Following a sale, conveyancers frequently don’t update the address with local councils.
To update your details online, go to the ‘contact us’ page of your council’s website, fill in your name and address, and provide the new address you wish notices to be sent. Alternatively, you can visit your local council offices and complete a change of address form.