property taxes and rates etc

Rates hike battle

The outcry from BCC’s recent rates hike for apartment owners is not going away anytime soon, and we understand a legal challenge may be in the wind. In his recent budget the Lord Mayor announced a new loading for the ratings formula on medium and high density property. In one apartment tower in the CBD a rented apartment’s general rates bill will go from $517 to $3,584 (yes a $3000 rise, and that’s before the water, sewerage and other charges) And this is a fairly typical city building with apartments worth $500,000 to $600,000. Not penthouse owners with cash spilling from their balconies, but regular mum and dad investors renting their apartments to Brisbane’s growing inner-city population.

All apartment, townhouse and unit owners in Brisbane City Council will be affected. When the first bills hit in January Council will be inundated by shocked owners – for now most of us just can’t follow the convoluted new rates formula to calculate how big the impact will be. The big legal question is whether BCC has a legal right to impose a loading on a particular type of residential property.

You’d hope they did their homework before making the change but if not, a quick political backflip must be in order. With such large sums at stake we’d expect this issue to stay in the news for a long time to come.