Is a property management company allowed...

Asked by Rianda on 20-08-2020 19:41:48
Question posted in the General Law category relating to Gauteng

Is a property management company allowed to bill a client an admin fee for an incorrect EFT payment reference used on a levy payment, where the client has set their bank beneficiary detail to include the correct reference required by the property management company, but the bank has somehow replaced the beneficiary reference with some other value?

The property management company that collects levies for residents in my complex, has sent a blanket email communication to everyone in the complex saying they have noticed a large number of payments by people in our complex do not contain the correct reference number, and they will bill an R85 admin fee for each payment received that they have to reconcile which does not contain our assigned reference number. This does not seem correct to me because I think it would be unfair to financially penalise a client for a fault made by a bank over which the client has no control.

My explanation of the terms I have used above, below.

Property management company = the company employed to manage a sectional title complex, including billing residents for levies and collecting said levies.

EFT payment reference = the reference number the property management indicates that the resident should use (for example in my case I am to use reference 000253251 which presumably enables the property manager to reconcile my payment with my account in their system).

Bank beneficiary detail = my setup of my beneficiary against my bank account, which I use to make levy payments to the property management company.

My question: if the property management company bills me an admin fee of R85 for a bank transfer I have done, where I have taken all reasonable measures to meet the property management company's requirements, and where I can demonstrate that I have taken these measures and that it is my bank that has failed to use the information I have provided on my payment in the way that the bank is expected to use this information (based on the bank's explanation of their data fields), can I refuse to pay the admin fee?

My second question: in the event that the property management company is not allowed to bill an admin fee for something outside of a client's control, to which regulatory authority can one report a property management company in South Africa?

Answer to the Question

Posted by Att. Patrick on 21-08-2020 10:03:36

Hi there,

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.

Q: Can I refuse to pay the admin fee? --> The right to charge an admin fee must be recorded in part of your agreement with the body corporate. If it isn't, then they can't charge it to you. 

Att. Patrick

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.

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