Council launches further legal action over dual occupancy
THE council has launched further legal action against a Bundaberg home owner it says has ignored a judge's order to stop renting a property as if it was a dual occupancy.
Last year Bundaberg Regional Council succeeded in its claim in the Planning and Environment Court to limit the use of 5A and B Mandi Court and property owner Katherine Lalis was ordered to stop renting out one of the dwellings by December 5.
She was not allowed to rent out both dwellings unless council approved a material change of use on the property, which it had already refused.
The council alleges both dwellings are being used six months past December 5.
It alleged 5B was empty then advertised until it was leased out in January. The council's legal representatives returned the matter to court, with the next court mention listed for August 5.
Council compliance officer Amanda McGinley has sworn to legal documents that said she had inspected the front of the properties in February, May and early June.
She alleged there were signs of both dwellings being used, including the parking of a vehicle and used bins at 5A, and provided photographs of a light on and a cat sitting on the window ledge in 5B.
The council's lawyers Connor O'Meara said it was "very troubled" by Ms Lalis's response and considered it a "contumelious and flagrant disregard" of the court orders.
It wrote its intentions to continue the matter by writing to Ms Lalis's former legal representation, Certus Legal Group, which said it no longer acted on her behalf.
In November it requested a delay in removing tenants as Ms Lalis intended to appeal.
The lawyers said the reduction in rental income would be substantial and "likely result in our client having the property repossessed by their lender". It also said that Ms Lalis had been charged rates as if it was a duplex rather than one property.