$1,000 bond returned to property owners
A Council told Stephanie and her husband they had 50 days to repair a footpath. The Council said the couple had damaged the footpath eight years before. If they did not fix the footpath, the Council said they would not return a $1,000 bond. We told the Council that the law prevents the recovery of debts over six years old. They agreed to waive the matter and returned the bond to Stephanie.
What was the case?
In 2010 Stephanie and her husband sought permission to carry out work on their property. They paid a $1,000 bond to Whitehorse City Council to cover any damages caused to Council assets. After the work was completed Stephanie's husband went to recover the bond. The Council didn’t refund it.
In 2019 they received a letter from the Council giving them 50 days to repair a footpath, said to have been damaged during the works. Failure to repair the damage would result in their $1,000 bond being retained by the Council.
When Stephanie contacted the Council, she was told they discovered the issue while conducting a review. The Council said they had sent her husband a notice in 2011 but Stephanie said they did not receive it.
We contacted the Council and advised that the law prevents the recovery of debts over six years old. Further, the evidence provided by the Council of damage to the footpath was unclear. Given this, we told the Council we believed it was unreasonable for them to pursue the matter.
The Council agreed to waive the matter and returned the $1,000 bond to Stephanie and her husband. They also said they had put measures in place so all outstanding bonds would be addressed before the six-year mark.