Rates FAQs | City of Fremantle

Rates FAQs

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Where do my rates go?

The City will raise $47million in rates in 2020–2021 to help fund the services and support we deliver to residents. Here's how it is spent:

Image showing budget breakdown. Click the 'download the budget and rates booklet' link below for the accessible version.

How are rates calculated?

The rates calculation begins when the City of Fremantle begins developing the budget. The City calculates how much it will cost to deliver our services for the financial year and then divides that among rates payers.

The amount for each rate payer is not the same as they are calculated by multiplying a property’s valuation by the differential rate in the dollar set by council. This is subject to a minimum payment which is set each year by the City.

Your valuation is determined by the Valuer General at Landgate, which is a department under the Government of Western Australia. The Valuer General assigns non-rural properties a Gross Rental Value (GRV) and rural properties an Unimproved Value (UV).

Unimproved Value is the value of land only. It does not include the value of your home, other structures or improvements. For land within the metropolitan area the UV does include merged improvements such as drainage, levelling and filling.

The Gross Rental Value represents the gross annual rental that a property might reasonably be expected to earn annually if it were rented, including rates, taxes, insurance and other outgoings. For non-residential properties, GST is also included.

Does the valuation go down if housing prices go down?

Not always - valuations are not linked to the property market.

Valuations are linked to the comparative value of each property – for example, someone with a two-bedroom home will pay a lesser share of rates than a neighbour with four bedrooms. This process protects ratepayers from long term market growth.

The relative value of each property is used as the basis to share out your council’s budget.

Council has adopted a 2020-21 annual budget that features no increase in rate revenue and a freeze on the majority of fees and charges.

Will my rates increase?

Council has adopted a 2020-21 annual budget that features no increase in rate revenue and a freeze on the majority of fees and charges.  This means we will collect the same total rates revenue from the same property base as we did last year.

This year is a revaluation year, which means when combined with the City’s new rate in the dollar, some properties may pay more in rates, while some may pay less. Overall:

  • 74% of ratepayers will pay the same or less than last year (2019–20)
  • 10% of ratepayers will pay an increase of less than 2% from last year
  • 16% of ratepayers will receive a notice that is more than a 2% increase from last year.

How is the rate in the dollar calculated?

The City’s long-term financial plan provides details of the proposed rates and indexation required in order to operate the City for the 12-month period (July to June) annually.

On this basis, council adopts a rate in the dollar for each rating differential, last year’s rate in the dollar multiplied by indexation and adopts this with the annual budget. This is what council agreed to in the 2020–21 annual budget.

Where can I find out more information on GRV?

Visit the Landgate GRV FAQ page or contact 9273 7373. Information includes how your GRV is calculated, what it’s used for and disputes with your valuation.

Why did the rates in the dollar vary to the advertised rates?

The rates in the dollar adopted in budget 2020–21 varied to the advertised rates in the dollar due to the movement of property valuations as determined by the triennial revaluation.

The rates advertised were based upon an average increase of 10% from 2019–20 due to an average property decrease across the City of 10%.

The final adopted rates in the dollar have been calculated for each differential rate to return the same rate revenue as 2019–20 for that differential, except for nightclubs.

The nightclub differential has been reduced further as acknowledgement that some resourcing costs directly and indirectly linked to the operation of these venues have reduced since the mandated closures of these venues due to COVID-19.

Why are there separate differential rate categories?

The City applies differential rates by taking into account the levels of services provided to different types of properties, the cost of providing services to certain types of properties, as well as the need to encourage certain types of activities in the city.

Our categories are:

  1. residential improved.
  2. residential vacant.
  3. commercial and industrial general.
  4. commercial and industrial vacant.
  5. City centre commercial.
  6. Nightclubs.
  7. Residential short term accommodation.

Are there pensioner and seniors concessions?

Yes - you may be eligible for a concession. View page 7 of the budget and rates 2020–21 booklet for information on concessions and applying for a rates rebate or alternatively visit the Concessions WA website.

I’m struggling financially. What can I do?

The City acknowledges that due to exceptional circumstances ratepayers may at times encounter difficulty in paying rates and services as they fall due.

Carefully read through the City of Fremantle Financial Hardship Policy to see if you qualify. If you believe you qualify, please complete and submit the financial hardship application.

If you are unable to meet any of the payment options included on your rate notice, under certain circumstances, the City also offers alternative payment arrangements. Please submit your payment proposal to the Revenue Officer - Lead Rates.

What happens to overdue rates and interest?

Rates are overdue where no election has been made to enter into an instalment option or a direct debit arrangement, and where rates and charges remain outstanding 35 days after the due date of issue. Overdue rates do not apply where a property is eligible for a full state government rebate or deferral.

Overdue interest will accrue daily at 8.00%pa on arrears/overdue rating balances until fully cleared. Interest accrued may be cleared in preference to arrears/overdue rating balances from payments received. Overdue interest will not accrue where a property is eligible to a full state government rebate or deferral.

Rate arrears

Are unpaid rating balances from previous financial periods for which there are no entitlement to defer under the state government rebate scheme.

Recovery proceedings

All arrears/overdue rating balances are subject to accrual of overdue interest and legal recovery proceedings. All property owners are jointly and severally liable for arrears/overdue rating balances and legal recovery costs.

All recovery costs will be charged to the property and along with the arrears/overdue rating balances, be payable in full before cessation of legal recovery proceedings. 

Where clearance is not forthcoming as sought, then recovery proceedings via the courts and/or section 6.64 and/or section 6.60 of the Local Government Act 1995 may be instigated.

Court and/or Local Government Act 1995 recovery proceedings

All legal recovery proceeding costs, including collection agency and solicitors, will be charged to the property and will be due and payable in full, along with the debt sought, prior to ceasing the collection proceedings.

Proceedings via the courts may result in an irreversible detrimental notation being applied against each property owner’s Australian credit rating record by the relevant reporting agencies. The credit rating organisations obtain details of legal recovery proceedings direct from the court.

The City is not obligated or responsible to remove any credit notation from a property owner’s credit rating record where legal recovery proceedings are instigated.

Section 6.64 of the Local Government Act 1995

The City where a property is in arrears for a period of 3 years or more may take possession of the property and (a) from time to time lease the land (b) sell the land (c) cause the land to be transferred to the Crown or (d) cause the land to be transferred to itself.

All costs associated with these proceedings, including advertisement and marketing, will be charged to the property and will be due and payable in full, along with the debt sought.

Section 6.60 of the Local Government Act 1995

The City may issue a Rental Garnishee Order on the lessee/tenant of a property. This order will require that lessee/tenant to pay to the City all rentals as they fall due in payment of any arrears and/or overdue rating balances.

All order service costs will be charged to the property and will be due and payable in full, along with the debt sought, prior withdrawing an order.

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