Essential services, rates and traffic fines are all affected by bankruptcy in different ways.
A bankrupt with unpaid gas or electricity accounts may find that the service is disconnected until a security deposit is paid. A creditor cannot ask for a debt incurred prior to the commencement of the bankruptcy to be paid, before continuing to provide a service after the date of bankruptcy, so be careful if the electricity company insists on payment of arrears before reconnecting. Get legal advice, or you can lodge a complaint with the Energy and Water Ombudsman of South Australia.
Council Rates and Water Rates
Local councils have an automatic statutory charge over real estate when rates are not paid. When a property is sold, the council rates will be paid to ensure that the purchaser gets clear title, even when there might a shortfall on repayment of the mortgage. A bankrupt remains liable to pay the council and water rates for the property.
Failure to pay traffic or parking expiation fines can result in a suspension of licence order for a period of 60 days (Fines Enforcement Suspension order) and/or being prohibited from doing business with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles (Cessation of Business order). A Cessation of Business order is for an indefinite period and results in a debtor being unable to register or renew registration of a motor vehicle, obtain or renew a licence or conduct any other vehicle related transaction with the Registrar of Motor Vehicles.
The content of the Law Handbook is made available as a public service for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice. See Disclaimer for details. For free and confidential legal advice in South Australia call 1300 366 424.