The Northern Territory Manual for Council Staff working with Rates and Charges
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dhcd.nt.gov.au Page 28 of 35 March 2017, version 12 How to undertake court proceedings for recovery of unpaid rates and charges Debts up to $25,000 are heard by the Northern Territory Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the Tribunal). The first step is to make an initiating application to the Registrar of the Tribunal, with details of the claim (that is the unpaid rates) and pay the application fee. If the application is accepted, the Registrar sends out a copy of the application to the council to serve the debtor. The council and the debtor will then be asked to attend a Tribunal hearing. The Tribunal may ask the council and the debtor to attend a compulsory conference, led by a member of the Tribunal, to work out how to settle the dispute. More information on Tribunal proceedings can be accessed at: https://nt.gov.au/law/courts-and-tribunals/northern-territory-civil-and-administrativetribunal-ntcat/how-to-apply-to-ntcat. Where the debt is larger than $25,000 but less than $250,000, the matter is heard by the Local Court. The first step is to file a Statement of Claim at the Court, which includes all the details of the unpaid rates (such as principal, interest and costs). When the Statement of Claim is filed (stamped by the Court and noted on their records), it is to be personally served on the debtor. Upon being served with the Statement of Claim, the debtor has 28 days to either pay the claim or lodge a defence with the Court. After the expiry of the 28 days, the matter is heard by a Judge. Charge against land If rates are not paid by the due date, the rates become a charge on the land to which they relate (section 170 of the LGA). However, there are some exceptions to this general rule: (1) Rates do not become a charge on land unless the owner of the land is a ratepayer who is liable for the rates that are in arrears. (2) Rates cannot become a charge on Aboriginal land. After rates have been in arrears for at least 6 months, the council may apply to the appropriate registration authority for registration of the charge over the land to which the charge relates. The registration authority must, on payment of the appropriate fee by the council: (a) register the charge as an overriding statutory charge; and (b) notify all persons with a registered interest in or over the land of the registration of the charge. https://nt.gov.au/law/courts-and-tribunals/northern-territory-civil-and-administrative-tribunal-ntcat/how-to-apply-to-ntcat https://nt.gov.au/law/courts-and-tribunals/northern-territory-civil-and-administrative-tribunal-ntcat/how-to-apply-to-ntcat
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