Your lawyer is required to ensure all rates on the property are paid. They should contact both your local council and the regional council to obtain the balance of the rates for the current year. If there is a direct debit in place, we will ask the seller’s lawyer for confirmation that the direct debit should be cancelled. If there is a credit balance, we will discuss with the seller’s lawyer whether this credit should be transferred to another rates account or if it should be refunded to the lawyer’s trust account.
Both lawyers (the seller’s and buyer’s) will complete change of ownership documentation, after lodging the changes with Land Information New Zealand (LINZ) a copy will be provided to both the district/city council and ourselves. This change/sale information will be processed by the district/city council, the changes once processed will be passed to us regularly.
If the seller’s lawyer does not pay all of the rates owing by the previous owner, then it is up to the buyer of the property to contact their lawyer about any issues, as the contract signed between lawyer and client is not something that council has any authority over.