One of the houses set to go under auction at Wade St.
One of the houses set to go under auction at Wade St.

UNDER THE HAMMER: Resident’s concern over forced auctions

A LOCAL RESIDENT has raised concerns about what happens to the ratepayers who are set to have their auctioned with Lismore City Council seeking to reclaim debt.

11 houses are set to go under the hammer on November 28 after four were withdrawn from sale in October.

Lismore resident Stephen Bell's neighbour is one house set to be up for sale and Mr Bell said he had concerns about the sale given the woman was 'recluse'.

"How much is it going to cost our society and taxes to make this helpless lady, and all the others, homeless? What will the whole of life cost? The costs in court time and fees? What about our social responsibility to the most vulnerable in our society?"

"There are some seriously clever, smart, and compassionate people in the council. There just has to be another way, other than making these people homeless!"

Mr Bell said while he supported the need for everyone to pay their rates, he felt the council had a duty of care to the people who lose their homes.

"100 per cent support that everyone has to pay their bills! But in an area with almost endemic homelessness I can't see how adding to the homelessness is the solution."

"The short-term benefit of the council clearing their rate debts, will cost the council, and our society exponentially more!"

A Lismore City Council spokesperson said that the council had done all it good in this situation.

"Council has a duty of care to ensure it has followed the proper process and that residents have been afforded the opportunity to put forward their circumstances and proposal for dealing with their longstanding outstanding debt."

"Council has a hardship policy and there are Office of Local Government Guidelines that we follow to ensure all off these minimum obligations are met, and in many circumstances are exceeded."

The spokesperson confirmed that the Council was continuing to work with the relevant parties for a solution.

"We have been and are still working with all the affected property owners and engaged with other service providers to assist with the individual circumstances of the affected property owners."

"Council does not take these types o decisions lightly and the auction of properties for unpaid rates is a last resort once debt has accumulated over a number of years."