Derry ranks third on list of money owed to rates service

Almost 100,000 instances of domestic and business rates arrears were recorded in Northern Ireland last year.
Almost 100,000 instances of domestic and business rates arrears were recorded in Northern Ireland last year.

The latest figures showing rates arrears for both domestic and business premises in Derry have revealed that over 6,000 cases of debt in the Derry area.

The figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act from Land and Property Services Northern Ireland (LPS NI) show that as of the end of March last year, 5,519 people eligible to pay domestic rates in the area owe money whilst 1,031 business premises were in the same position. Overall that is 6,550 cases of arrears in that period of time.

In the same timeframe, LPS NI issued final notices to 3,276 domestic properties and 643 to business premises-an overall total of 3,919.

In comparison in 2014, 5,992 domestic dwellings were in debt to LPS NI and 1,136 businesses also owed money, an overall total of 7,128.

Of these, 3786 domestic dwellings were issued with final notices whilst 720 businesses were given ‘red letters’- a total of 4,506.

Across all council areas in Northern Ireland in 2015, 84,307 domestic premises were in arrears to LPS NI as well as 15,345 businesses, this was an overall total of 99,652 cases of rates related debt.

Derry is third on the list for 2015 behind Belfast which had a total of 21,146 instances of money owed to LPS NI and Newry and Mourne with a total of 7,256 instances.

Limavady had an overall total of 2,009 cases of rates arrears. 1,793 of the Limavady cases related to domestic dwellings and 216 related to businesses.

The figures relate to just before the changing of the Northern Ireland local authority system to the ‘Super Council’ format as of April 1, 2015.

There are around 65,000 ratepayers in the new Derry City and Strabane District Council area after the merging of both council districts.

Last year, for the first time, domestic rate payers in Northern Ireland received an itemised rates bill revealing what their money is used for in terms of service provision.

The rateable value is an estimate of the annual rental value of the property, as at April 2013.

A District Rate Subsidy was introduced for those ratepayers most affected by significant rises in their rate bill that are a direct result of the councils merging.

The subsidy, which will be phased out over four years, applies to domestic and non-domestic ratepayers.