Landlord fights 'greed'

STRESSED Tiaro ratepayer Anthony Van Doorn did not have a very happy birthday last Wednesday.

He couldn’t afford to eat.

“I’ve mostly been on one meal a day since March when I went up to the council to pay my quarterly rates instalment and they hit me with back rates because they said they hadn’t charged me properly for my three small flats,” Mr Van Doorn said yesterday.

“Instead of the $1200-odd I thought I still owed, suddenly I was up for just over $3000.

“So I stopped eating three meals a day to save up to pay off my rates.

“On Wednesday, my 56th birthday, it just happened I didn’t have the money for food so I simply went without.

“But next I got really lucky because I went to Lifeline and they arranged a food parcel for me, for which I am very grateful.”

Anthony is a builder who bought his block of land in Tiaro in the 1970s, planning to put three flats on it as a form of super for his old age.

“I built the two two-bedroom flats and one-three bedroom flat in the early ’80s and I’ve managed to live okay all these years even though rents in Tiaro are very low.

“What put me to the wall were the sudden hikes in my water charges, rubbish removal and finally the rates.

“I now have to pay $3796 for my 2010-2011 rates and I still owe $2947.13 from last year including the back rates they charged me.

“I can’t cope. I want Fraser Coast ratepayers to join me in a class action to stop this greedy council from continuing like this.”

Anthony said he had increased his tenants’ rent accordingly after he found last year’s rates had been retrospectively increased.

“But of course I lost two of my tenants who quite rightly said they could rent new for that in Maryborough.”

The Hideaway Hotel in Tiaro has been feeding Anthony in recent days, saying he can pay them back when he gets some money in his pocket.

“People are really kind around here. I’ve also been told I can get on to the New Start pension even though I own these small flats.

“I did get some work in recent months with a builder but he ran out of jobs so I’m out of work again.

“I don’t like taking charity but I’m desperate.”

Mr Van Doorn said anyone who wanted to join him in his fight could write to him at PO Box 7, Tiaro.

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