Shire of Gingin to auction 47 lots near Lancelin to recover unpaid rates

The Shire of Gingin resolved to seize and auction 47 lots in Sunset Estate, Nilgen to recover outstanding rates.
The Shire of Gingin resolved to seize and auction 47 lots in Sunset Estate, Nilgen to recover outstanding rates.

THE Shire of Gingin has resolved to seize and auction 47 lots in a Nilgen estate near Lancelin to recover more than $800,000 in outstanding rates.

Chief executive Aaron Cook said as of June 30, 2018, the Shire was owed $909,257 in outstanding rates, largely by one debtor that had more than 40 properties from a development.

At its September meeting, the council decided to recover the $806,073.29 owed for the 47 lots in Sunset Estate, Nilgen by auctioning the land, subject to finalising the property seizure and sale order.

The report said the lots were registered to Neil James Duckworth and held by mortgagee Optima Funding.

“The Shire’s policy for outstanding rates recovery is to, in the first instance, attempt to resolve outstanding balances via a number of payment arrangements,” Mr Cook said.

“If no arrangement or contact is made by the ratepayer the Shire will issue a final notice.

“Once all attempts to recover the debt have been exhausted, the Shire will refer the matter to a debt collection service.”

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Mr Cook said the Shire charged a penalty of 11 per cent per year on unpaid rates and in the past decade, it had only taken possession of, and sold, one property.

The September council report said the council approved the Nilgen subdivision about 12 years ago, and 59 lots had been sold.

However, it said the Shire had been trying to recover outstanding rates from the original developer and later the Melbourne-based mortgagee since 2014.

“Officers had some success with regard to recovery of a portion of the outstanding rates in 2014 and 2015,” it said.

“This was achieved by council agreeing to defer pursuing legal action at the time, providing the full proceeds from the sale of any land was paid directly to council until such time as the rates debt was paid in full.

“This resulted in the sale of one lot in 2014 and one lot in 2015, with sale proceeds amounting to $277,470.95 being paid to council as part payment of the outstanding debt.

“However there have been no further proceeds forthcoming from land sales since September 2015 on any of the lots held by the mortgagee.”