What happens after an infringement notice is issued?
As set out in the infringement notice, the offender has 28 days to pay the fee to the issuing authority.
The territorial/regional authority is entitled to retain all infringement fees received for infringement notices issued by its enforcement officers.
Offenders can arrange to pay the fee in installments. This is at the discretion of the territorial/regional authority. Section 21(3A) of the Summary Proceedings Act provides that an arrangement can be made to pay by installments if:
- the reminder notice has not been filed in court; and
- the territorial/regional authority has the necessary management and accounting systems in place to allow the defendant to pay by instalments.
Note, the arrangement must be entered into within six months after the date of the offence and be completed within 12 months after the date of the offence. If the defendant defaults in payment of any installments, the territorial/regional authority can enter into another arrangement for payment by installments or serve a reminder notice on the defendant (note: the reminder notice should include a record of the amount of infringement fee unpaid).
If a reminder notice is issued, the defendant does not have the option of requesting a hearing.
Refer back to the summary of rights for other options.
Infringement reminder notices
If the recipient of an infringement notice does not pay the infringement fee, does not seek reconsideration of the offence in writing and does not request a hearing within 28 days of the date of service of the infringement notice, the territorial/ regional authority can issue an infringement reminder notice. It is important that the reminder notice follows the prescribed form as noted in the Building Infringement Regulations, see Appendix 3.
The infringement reminder notice must contain the same, or substantially the same, particulars as the infringement notice under section 21(2) of the Summary Proceedings Act. The offender also has a further 28 days to pay after a reminder notice is issued.
Infringement notices are an additional tool to achieve compliance. There will still be some situations where proceeding to prosecution is the most appropriate option (eg not complying with notice/s to fix on serious breaches of the Building Act).
Most territorial/regional authorities will already be familiar with the prosecution process and the need to keep good records and documentation should a prosecution be considered.
For offences declared by the Building Infringement Regulations, territorial authorities and regional authorities should adhere to their own policies and procedures when considering the issuing of an infringement notice and/or prosecution. Territorial authorities and regional authorities should seek their own legal advice on a case-by-case basis.