Ratepayers still struggling to pay their rates due to financial hardship may be eligible for a staggered repayment plan under a new rates hardship policy adopted by Moreton Bay Regional Council today.
Mayor Peter Flannery says the policy will give people a little time if that’s all they need to get on top of their bills, which is increasingly important in the wake of COVID-19.
“I said at the start of this pandemic that we didn’t want anyone slipping through the cracks,” he says.
“Implementing a permanent rates hardship policy today will help do exactly that.
“Economic recovery may be happening faster than expected, but there are plenty of people starting to feel the pinch as other government assistance programs end.”
Mayor Flannery says the policy sets out how Council can identify ratepayers experiencing financial hardship due to an unexpected event or unforeseen changes, and provide them with help to meet payments.
“The last thing I want in our region is for families not to have roofs over their heads,” he says.
Mayor Flannery says Council will relax penalties and ongoing collection activity for people eligible for assistance, so they can use a payment plan to pay their outstanding rates and charges over an agreed period of time.
“Generally, the support will only be offered to residential property owners living in their home and the maximum period of support is 12 months.
“In extenuating circumstances, eligible ratepayers still experiencing financial hardship may apply for support for a second period of up to twelve months, but the maximum period of support is two years per instance of financial hardship.”
In May last year Council adopted a range of support measures to help ratepayers having difficulty paying rates or charges, including suspending interest on overdue rates and charges from April 1 to September 30, 2020.
The unanimous vote in favour of the new Rates and Charges - Financial Hardship Policy means the support measures will be implemented as a permanent policy.