In New Zealand, properties pay rates to councils/local authorities. These are calculated yearly for periods with specific dates (e.g. 1st of April through to 31st of March, both inclusive).
When a property is sold, the title transfer occurs on what is called "settlement" day. This day is when the buyer becomes the owner. The rates owed by the property get apportioned between the vendor (seller) and the buyer: if the vendor has already paid rates beyond his ownership, the amount is added to what the buyers pays.
Now I am seeking a reliable source of information on which party is legally responsible for the rates on the settlement day.
On one hand, because the settlement day is the first/start day of buyer's ownership, one might argue that he/she is the one to pay rates for this day (and this is what I personally experienced when once purchasing a property in NZ).
On the other hand, there is an argument that "Settlement can occur anytime up until 4.00pm and the day of settlement is the vendor's responsibility in regards to rates.". This is what I am hearing from a tutor in a course called "Law Office Practice".
So, is it legally defined somewhere who pays rates on settlement day? Or is this up to the lawyers who perform the transaction to decide?