Mackay investors win as Supreme Court judge refuses extra council rates for rental owners
A council decision to introduce a new council rate category in Mackay, which would see rental property owners slugged an extra $200 a year, has been ruled against in the Supreme Court as an “improper” exercise of power.
North Queensland investors appealed the Mackay Regional Council decision, according to SBS, after extra levies for investors were also introduced in areas such as Rockhampton, Mount Isa, Brisbane and Logan.
According to The Morning Bulletin, the Council are looking to review the judgment, which may set precedence for these other areas. The difference in the rate systems, however, make this difficult to ascertain.
The class action law suit was launched last year after around 1,200 objections to the new fee were delivered to council.
Those who have already paid the fee, however, might not see it returned.
The judge ruled that the issue is not whether the Council’s assumptions are flawed but whether the statute permits the Council to categorise land for differential rating purposes by reference to the occupation of it by the owner.
“In my opinion it does not,” the judge explained.
“To justify the categorisation the Council impermissibly took into account characteristics personal to the owners of the land and failed to restrict itself to characteristics of the subject land itself.
“It is simply a misuse of language to claim that the owner’s decision to reside on land, or not, is in some way a characteristic of the land.”
Source www.propertyobserver.com.au May 2014