Question posted in the Property Law category relating to Western Cape
Dear South African Attorney,
My mother owns an apartment in a complex and has a rental property manager in complete charge of all dealings with regards to the rental and tenant issuses. My mom does not even have the keys to enter the property.
Recently, the tenant ended their lease and subsequently, the tenants moved out at the end of April 2020. The flat is empty and noone has been in the apartment since they moved out.
A few weeks later, my mom received a water bill from Faircape building management as the usage bill comes every month. She has been billed R10 640.00 only for the 13th May to 15th May and there are still 8 more days of water usage to be billed for June. The building management has recorded water usage for my mom's flat at over 12 600 litres per day for 10 days from the 13th May 2020 to 23rd May 2020.
My mom immediately sent the bill to her rental agent to sort this matter out.
My mom was expecting it to be a faulty meter as the agent said that no one stayed in the flat for more than 15 days already. My mom was expecting that the incorret water usage amount would be written off.
The rental agent keeps telling my mom that they are trying their best, but Faircape management sent a second email for the same bill stating that the bill is overdue. They tried to scare my mom to pay for this incorrect billing as soon as possible . She has tried to made contact with the Faircape manager to discuss the matter telephonically but he only sent my mom an email saying that he is busy dealing with my rental agent on this - the email was sent to me two weeks ago. When my mom received the overdue bill today, they hae further billed her for water usage for 2 days at R6 800. My mom knows there are still 8 more days to be billed for the water usage for this June.
She is expecting the bill for the eight days to come at the end of June. Can we send you the final bill once we receive it from the building managemment? We need your proffesional help.
The rental agent does not want to be responsible for this cost despite my mom not having the keys, the agent has the keys.
We understand that as my mom is the owner, she is responsible for the bill but she was nowhere near the apartment and transferred all the dealings of her flat to the rental agent - including inspection of the flat when people move in and out of the property.
What can be done to erase this incorrect amount since the rental agent manager does not want to take responsibility? Is there any way around this to have her atleast accept some responsibility? Can we request Faircape to erase this amount?
Please advise what course of action to take so that my mom does not have to foot the bill.
Answer to the Question
I see that you haven't made a payment for the question, but I'm going to assist you a little. If you want to ask a follow-up question, please make the required payment.
She needs to work out (prove) what the issue is. If the issue is a faulty water meter, then Faircape should reverse the charges. If the issue is that the previous tenant left the water running, then your mom must sue the previous tenant for the charges and must settle Faircape.
Please remember this is a dialog if you have follow-up questions please make the required payment, then use the REPLY button and ask your further question. I would like to continue assisting you, but I need to concentrate on people who make payments for their questions.