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  • Landlord win in rate stoush: Brisbane City Council loses court bid to recoup money
  • By Vanda Carson
  • 04/09/2019 Make a Comment
  • Contributed by: Col ( 1 article in 2019 )
BRISBANE City Council has lost its High Court bid to claw back overdue rates from a landlord, dating back more than a decade.

The council has been chasing property owner Edward Amos, 78, from Clayfield, for rates notices issued between 1999 and 2012, but yesterday the High Court upheld a decision of the state’s Court of Appeal, which ruled that some of council’s claims for unpaid rates were “time-barred” under the statute of limitations.

Mr Amos owed the council for rates for his properties in Clayfield, Newmarket, ­Albion, Northgate, Virginia and Wooloowin.

The council was awarded $807,148.28 in unpaid rates, including interest, when it won the first round of its legal stoush in June 2016.

Edward Amos argued rates notices were invalid because the due date for payment was not at least 30 days after the date of the notice.

But in 2018, Mr Amos successfully appealed part of the decision, with the Court of Appeal finding the council could not claim rates and interest accrued between 1999 and June 23, 2003.

The five High Court judges, including Chief Justice Susan Kiefel, agreed with the Court of Appeal and unanimously ruled that a six-year limitation period applies to the council’s claims for rates against Mr Amos, not a 12-year limitation for debts “secured by charge”.

Justice Stephen Gageler states in his reasons that “Mr Amos is free to invoke by way of defence that limitation period which is shorter and more advantageous to him”.

The council had alleged that Mr Amos – a former real estate agent – failed to pay rates and charges on his eight rundown properties, all in Brisbane’s northern suburbs.

Slum house at Edmonstone Street, Newmarket owned by Edward 'Ted' Amos.

But Mr Amos maintained he was always prepared to pay the council, merely challenging the validity of some of the rate notices issued between 1999 and 2012.

He also told the Supreme Court in evidence that he paid the council some of the money owing three times in 2000 and 2001, and claimed that each time he “handed over a written letter or note addressed to the town clerk”, indicating the “payment was made under protest”.

In a first, the case required the High Court to consider what kind of debt unpaid rates are under competing sections of the Limitations of Act to decide which limitations period applied.

The Brisbane City Council said in a statement it expects to receive about $500,000 in unpaid rates that were within the six year limitation period.

Council will be vigorously pursuing these funds from Mr Amos on behalf of ratepayers.

Source: https://www.couriermail.com.au/news/queensland/crime-and-justice/brisbane-city-council-loses-court-bid-to-recoup-800000-in-rates/news-story/4eeabf6ea3d381c68681a407fcd830db


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