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  • #59411
    shanners
    Flatchatter

    Chasing outstanding levies from reluctant payers is always a difficult issue but what if the owner lives overseas.

    That is our situation. The levies have gone unpaid for a number of years and the ownership of the apartment has even changed in that time. But it was from one family member to another with no debts cleared at the time of transfer.

    To make matters worse the apartment is occupied by another family member. I know ultimately the owner will be liable for any debts incurred in pursuit of the debt but that could be many years away.

    Does anyone have any suggestions other than a bottomless pit of legal expenses with little hope of a satisfactory result when the owner lives more than 10,000 kilometres away .

Viewing 4 replies - 1 through 4 (of 4 total)
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  • #59424
    kaindub
    Flatchatter

    It’s usual to have a debt recovery procedure thst has been passed as a motion.

    The usual wording is that any and all fees to recover the debt are covered by the debtor.
    If you have this debt recovery motion, then set the lawyers onto them.
    As in all cases of debt recovery, it’s difficult when the debtor is in another jurisdiction. However, your lawyer and the courts have probably encountered this situation before and should be able to find a resolution.

    Past a certain amount, the debtor can be made bankrupt. In that case the court will order the sale of any assets, ie their unit, in order to repay the debt .

    #59432
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    Past a certain amount, the debtor can be made bankrupt. In that case the court will order the sale of any assets, ie their unit, in order to repay the debt .

    It’s worth having a look at this post by Bannermans Lawyers which explains how seeking bankruptcy could end up costing the owners corp more than they get in return.

    However, in this case, my question would be whether or not you could declare a foreign entity bankrupt.  I know the law changed on overseas investors recently but I can’t recall what it was.

     

    #59452
    webman
    Flatchatter

    I suppose this might differ by jurisdiction, but my strata had a similar issue, levies owing were (from memory $20k+ and had never been paid since the building was completed).

    We sent the case to lawyers, who followed a long and slow process towards having the unit sold and proceeds used for repayment of all costs/levies. The owner eventually managed to pay the levies (they lived overseas, nobody was living in the unit at all). I didn’t follow all the details, but I am aware part of the process involved sticking notices on the door/under the door of the unit, and searching for means to contact the owner in the country of residence.

    I assume in the end all costs were also paid by the owner.

    So the short story, it can be done (at least the lawyers said yes), but it can take a long time (more than a year at least).

    #59455
    Jimmy-T
    Keymaster

    I assume in the end all costs were also paid by the owner.

    The reasonable costs in pursuing a strata debt can be added to the debt.  However, according to the Bannermans article cited above, the costs in pursuing bankruptcy can’t be.

    Strata law needs to close that loophole so that after a year of unpaid levies, the OC can sequestrate the rent from the unit or, if it’s a friend or family member who doesn’t pay rent, then they should be charged rent based on market values.

    If the property is unoccupied, then the strata scheme should be able to take it over and rent it out until such times as the levies have been paid off.

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