The Rating Act.
The Rating Act Amendment Bill was read a second time on Wednesday evening, on the motion of Mr Pitt. The Bill contains nine clauses, its object being to give power to local bodies to let instead of selling property for non-payment of rates under the Rating Act of 1876. Local bodies are to give notice under section 61 of that Act that the property will be let after six months from date-of notice, if the rates and costs are not paid. At the expiration of a further six months the local body may let the property by auction, * unless the rates and costs in arrear, with 15 per cent, per annum interest on the amount at due date, and the rates up to the date of payment be paid. The proceeds of the letting are to be applied in payment of rates in arrear, and the balance is to be handed over to the. Public Trust office, to be re-paid by the k public trustee to such persons as shall to his satisfaction establish a claim thereto, together with 5 per cent, interest. The letting is to be by public auction, and the consideration for letting is to be paid eithei forthwith or in instalments. The highest bidder, if his bid is equal to or exceeds the amount of arrears of rates and costs, is to be lessee. The term of years of letting is to be fixed by the local governing body, but must not exceed fourteen years ; but the local body may fix two alternative terms, and in that case the property is to be offered in the first instance for a shorter term, and, if necessary, for the other term in succession. The lease is to vest in the lessee in the same manner as if it had been demised by the owner. The lease may be registered in the office of the Registrar of Deeds or District Land Registrar.
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