DELAYS IN THE OPENING OF NEW MUNICIPAL ACCOUNTS AFTER TRANSFER : PROBLEMS AT THE CAPE TOWN MUNICIPALITY IDENTIFIED
We have received reports from literally hundreds of clients who have recently sold their properties in Cape Town advising that, months after the transfer was registered, they are still receiving a municipal account. More alarmingly, the account now reflected a substantial amount owing by themselves to the municipality.
We have now received a communication from the City clarifying the position. According to their media release they have identified the source of the problem and they believe the situation will be rectified by the end of February.
We assume this means that by March the municipal accounts will be opened in the name of the new owners who will then receive their first (large) bill for the period from date of transfer until now. The previous owner will then also be refunded the amount paid to obtain the rates clearance certificate for the period beyond the date of the transfer.
While this process plays out, the municipality will not be wasting their time trying to collect the outstanding amounts from the previous owners. In addition, the municipality say they have sent SMS notifications to all the buyers and sellers who are affected advising that there would be no disconnection of services while this matter was being resolved.
Our advice to our clients therefore remains the same. Sellers must not pay anything to the municipality to settle these accounts, and neither should the buyers, as any payments on the seller’s account will be refunded to the seller when the change over takes place. Furthermore, parties must just be patient with the process, the municipality will resolve the issue as soon as possible, as they can’t afford to carry on without this source of income.