Find out about the steps the Shire takes to recover outstanding rates and service charges, including how you can get help and frequently asked questions. 

Rates recovery steps: Stage 1

The following outlines the correspondence and steps the Shire will take before commencing legal action to recover outstanding rates and service charges.

The Annual Rate Notice is issued between July to August each year. The due date for payment is 35 days from the date of issue. An instalment option is provided, whereby rates can be paid in four instalment payments with set due dates every 60 days.

Penalty interest starts to accumulate as soon as the due date passes.

Ratepayers can contact the Revenue Team to discuss a special arrangement at any time.

The Final Notice is issued between September to October and acts as a reminder notice. The due date for payment is 14 days after the issue date of the annual rate notice.

Penalty interest continues to accumulate until the rates are paid in full or overdue instalments. 

Ratepayers can contact the Revenue Team to discuss a special arrangement at any time.

AMPAC will issue a 14-day demand notice to all owners.

This communication explains that failure to pay or contact the Shire will result in the commencement of legal action without further notice to you. 

At this time, costs of recovery of rates are immediately incurred and will be added to your assessment.

If no contact or communication is received after the AMPAC 14-day demand communications, they will liaise with the Shire. If the Shire hasn’t received any direct communication or payment of the debt, we will instruct AMPAC commence legal action immediately. AMPAC will make the arrangements to file the General Procedure Claim document with the Magistrate’s Court.

Personal credit record default has now been recorded against all owners of the property for a term of 5 years. This may impact your ability to gain financial assistance (home loan or credit card  applications).

At this time costs of recovery of rates are immediately incurred and will be added to your assessment.

Rates recovery steps: Stage 2 (if debt remains unpaid)

If the debt remains unpaid and you have not contacted AMPAC, then legal recovery processes continue. The next steps are:

AMPAC will liaise with the Shire when the GPC expires. If the debt remains unpaid the Shire will give the instruction to proceed with Judgement. Judgement means AMPAC will lodge an Application for Default Judgement to the WA Magistrates Court (Civil Jurisdiction) to allow for the next step of legal action to occur which is PSSO.

Additional costs of recovery of rates will be incurred and added to your property assessment when invoices are received from AMPAC.
 

If the debt hasn’t been finalized by the previous steps, the Shire will instruct AMPAC to proceed with a ‘Property Seizure and Sale Order’ (PSSO) on goods. 

A PSSO on goods means the Court bailiff will visit your property to seize your personal goods (TV, Computers, Motor Vehicles) or collect money to pay the debt. The Bailiff will continue to visit until the debt amount is recovered. 

If there are no goods of monetary value to sell to recover the debt, the Shire will proceed with Sale of Land.

The end result, if rates remain unpaid is that the Shire will proceed with sale of the land in accordance with the LG Act.

Frequently asked questions

As a landowner you have a legal responsibility to keep your contact details up to date.

This is extremely important if your regularly work away , travel for extended periods of time, live overseas or have no fixed address as it allows us to contact you prior to legal action.

You can update your details online via our Change of Details form.

The Shire understands that from time to time, people experience financial difficulty due to a change in circumstance and are willing to take this into consideration.

If you are having trouble paying your rates, please contact the Shire as soon as possible. A member of the Revenue Team will discuss a suitable payment plan with you. 

Because the debt hasn’t been paid and the Shire and AMPAC have been unsuccessful in their attempts to contact you. 

Prior to commencing Step 4 - Legal Action, the Shire provides many opportunities for the ratepayer to contact us or make arrangements to pay the debt. 

We may take additional measures to obtain updated details and contact you, which is not legally required by the Shire but is a courtesy the Shire extends to its ratepayers. If previous legal action has been taken or overdue notices issued, courtesy contact won’t be attempted after the Shire Notice of Legal Action. 

Shire data base: internal system search to the property for all other Shire matters (e.g. dog registration, building licence, planning approval). 

Landgate: Certificate of Title Search to identify additional properties owned in a different Local Government.

AMPAC skip trace may be requested if the Shire believes you haven’t got any communication, i.e. moved address, new owner of land, building a new home. A skip trace does incur costs of recovery of rates, however, it is a courtesy process prior to legal action.

The Shire has Statutory Authority under the Local Government Act 1995 (LG Act) Section 6.56 to on-charge any costs of recovery of rates incurred during the legal recovery process to recover outstanding rates debts. 

This may include demand letters and communications; skip trace fees; legal action costs such as solicitor fees including travel; or Landgate Certificate of Title searches.

Costs of recovery of rates will be added to your property assessment when invoices are received from AMPAC.

Unfortunately, paying off a default after it is listed on your credit report does not negate the fact that it was an overdue debt in the first place. 

The status of your default will be updated to paid. However, the default will still remain.

For more information on defaults, please visit Equifax

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