Banks may pay late rates - and add them to your mortgage

Friday 20 February 2004

If you're withholding your regional rates payments, and have a mortgage, your bank could be making the payment on your behalf sooner than you think.

By The Landlord

The Regional Ratepayers Rebellion is concerned over a legal loophole that could see banks paying out the amount you owe the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) by adding it to your mortgage.

Although the ARC has to wait until November before it can legally demand the bank to do this, the bank can offer to pay before this date if the ARC notifies them of the outstanding payment.

The Regional Ratepayers Rebellion is approaching banks, urging them not to take this option.

Group spokesman David Thornton says although a small percentage of those who haven't paid their bills may be typical "non-payers", most are deliberately withholding all or part of their rates for seven months after the due date as a stand against the ARC's rating policies and last year's significant rates increase.

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