Council to auction woman's home after years of unpaid rates

FRASER Coast's council will auction 31 properties across the region in August in an effort to recover more than half-a-million dollars in unpaid rates.

Combined, the 13 homes and 18 parcels of land owe the Fraser Coast Regional Council $522,304.80 in outstanding rates.

The homes to be sold in less than a month include one belonging to Hervey Bay woman Elizabeth Laidler, who says she has struggled to pay rates for the past four years.

"It's just so expensive," she said.

"I've paid part of it but I've found it hard to pay the full amount."

The 47-year-old moved to the Fraser Coast in 2006 to be closer to family.

But after losing her job as a receptionist and struggling to find new employment, the single mother of two teenagers got behind on her rates and has not been able to get back on top.

EDITORIAL: Is selling off homes the right option?

Facing eviction from her Hervey Bay home, Ms Laidler was not sure what she would do or where she would go.

"I haven't got that far yet, still desperately trying to get the money paid off," she said.

"I haven't actually received a letter from them to say the home going up for auction - I knew it was coming but I haven't received anything yet."

Fraser Coast Mayor Gerard O'Connell said according to the council's Debt Recovery Policy, the owners were given numerous reminders and notices of the unpaid rates, some dating back four years.

"As one of the final steps in (the) council's recovery process, where the rates remain unpaid for three years or greater, (the) council considers the sale of the land at a public auction," Cr O'Connell said.

"During the process property owners are contacted and where possible we talk with them to arrange payment," he said.

"If they don't wish to enter into a payment plan to substantially reduce the amount outstanding within a reasonable period, when the rates exceed three years overdue, then the property owners are advised that the property would then be recommended for sale at a public auction."

Cr O'Connell said "owners have until the sale starts to remove the property from the auction list by payment of the full amount".

The council can take action to recover unpaid rates if the rates are overdue for three years or longer.

Once the land is sold, the council retains outstanding rates and charges, with the balance to the mortgage holder or property owner.


Is selling off homes the right option?

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