People wishing to view property files will now have to make an appointment at all Waikato District Council offices except Tuakau. The change from free access takes into consideration the council’s legal responsibility and liability for the release of confidential information.
General manager regulatory Nath Pritchard says that until recently property files have been available to view free of charge and on call to anyone visiting the council offices and there has been issues with this.
“Historically the files have been viewed by people with genuine reason and occasionally those with unreasonable intent,” he said.
“We have had situations where property information has been removed or copied from files. Now all files are being audited and an appointment time means the property information officer can go through the file and check it before and after it is viewed.”
Customers can also request an appointment with the property officer for advice and assistance on any matters pertaining to the property.
“The new system will provide clearer, more accurate information to our customers, and reduce liability for information errors, loss or damage to file information and release of confidential information.
“Often the information held in a property file can paint a picture but the change in procedure enables more communication with our customer and gives us the opportunity to promote a LIM report as a more valid source of property information,” Mr Pritchard said.
A fee of $34 per half hour will apply to view files and it is the aim of the council to make appointments within 24 hours. An appointment with the property officer will also be charged at $34 per half hour. The fees cover the time required to check and audit files for public viewing.
Property files from the former Franklin district were scanned and audited as a result of the transition to the Waikato district on 1 November 2010. These files are available to be viewed on-screen at the front counter of the Waikato District Council Tuakau office on request.