Differential Rates update – Landlords continue to pay

A couple of weeks ago in our article  “Differential Rates – Landlords may not have to pay” we advised that for some years a number of Councils throughout Queensland, including the Scenic Rim Regional Council, had applied an additional rates charge on Investment properties.  This practice had been challenged in the Supreme Court by a group of Mackay property investors and found to be an illegal practice (30th April 2014).  

Since then, as reported in The Courier Mail of 5 June 2014, the state government has rushed through laws allowing Queensland councils to charge investors more than owner-occupiers.  The legislation is retrospective.

Effectively, this means the state government with its retrospective intervention in the matter, has reversed the Supreme Courts ruling in favour of the Mackay property investment group. The new law has rendered the Mackay Council’s legal appeal redundant and allows Queensland Councils to rate rental properties higher than owner occupied properties. It remains to be seen whether or not the state governments reversal of a Supreme Courts ruling will be challenged! 

Astrid Kennedy