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AP Hearings - Retirement Village Rate Remissions

Elizabeth Jones came forward representing the unit holders within the three main retirement villages around Thames, though I understand there is support fro the submission from elsewhere in the District. Elizabeth was well supported by about 30 residents, and Council would be well advised to listen carefully to her well researched submission based on precedents from elsewhere.

Basically, the residents are saying that they are dudded for rates by the village management companies based on a divvying up of the total rates bill received in respect of the individual units on which they retain title.

The residents claim correctly that it is unfair that they are consequently unable to claim the rates remission available to other retirees who fall within the income limits that are standard throughout the  country. Elizabeth submitted that Council could overcome the problem by recognising them as individuals for the purpose of providing the remission on submission of the mandated statutory declaration of income, either direct or through the management company.

This seems on the surface a reasonable request, and one that could be accomplished without any great difficulty. It is unlikely to effect more than a few residents in each case because as Elizabeth has discovered residents whose income is restricted to the Aged Pension are in the minority. The only problem is that steps will need to be taken to ensure privacy is maintained, and that the information is tightly restricted as to who and who is not entitled. That should not be too difficult.

More tomorrow!




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Reader Comments (3)

Bill, you fail to recognise that these licence to occupy retirement places are a capital gain paradise for the owners, and all things being equal, they should be paying the rates. The biggest gain in any rate remission would be to the owners who are in this for a profit. Rates are calculated on the basis that this is a commercial investment property, which it is, and it is unfortunate that the victims are old retired folks. Parading the 'victims' to gain sympathy is yet another version of elder abuse. Fact is these are glorified rental properties funded by the tenants, and rates should be included in the annual rental. Since tenants have no share in any capital gain [or loss] the rates charged to tenants should reflect the true local residential rate, with the owner funding the balance. Legislation covering these schemes has left this gap. Grovelling to the council is not the answer. Many of these villages are built on marginal sites which now a days are becoming hard to insure, and the owners will be quietly checking LIM reports and recalculating nett worth. Current occupiers are in a great position because they have a guaranteed pay out when they check out. No one ever considered that property values might fall. If there was a cash up call tomorrow there is a possibility that owners will have to pay out more than the property is worth. Still thats a commercial situation everyone considered. No excuse for rate remission, no other landlord gets any.

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered Commentertrader

Your facts are a little askew - the owners took no role in the presentation - in fact they appear to oppose it - probably on the grounds that they may have an additional administrative load. Also you refer to a "capital gain paradise", but then raise the spectre of what happens in the event that property values fall - I can't quite work that out.
The licencees have a rates added to their annual statement that reflect their proportion of the total rates charged for all the units. I understand that their is no additional percentage added. It is part and parcel of the annual occupying licence fee as i understand it, so why is it so difficult to take this figure and apply the remission as in any other situation, or have I miissed something fundamental? It should be between the licencees and the Council with the owner simply acting as intermediary as I see it, but .........
You clearly have some greater insight into the matter, and if so please set out your argument in greater detail leaving out the gratuitous swipes - it does not assist in achieving clarity.

May 1, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBill

This problem of rates rebate for renters on low income has been raised by the Thames Pensioner Housing Trust (42 units) with successive MPs. We are a charitable Trust with volunteers as administrative workers. Our tenants (of meagre means) pay their rates within their rent which is kept affordable on Super. As they do not own their units they cannot claim the rebate although TCDC rates are payable as normal. The problem lies with government not Council who is only the agent. A change to allow claims is fraught with the difficulty that the rebate may end up in the wrong pockets. I believe that Council appreciates the problem and usually gives a grant from its Housing for the Aged account to help out each year. As to results from local MPs! Yeah right!

May 4, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPeter H Wood,

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