A case has cropped up recently where an owner of a unit thought that his levy account was only due on the 6th day of each month and there are probably many owners who think that payment of their accounts is only due by the 7th of each month, says Michael Bauer, general manager of IHFM, the property management company.
The plain truth is payments of levy accounts are due on the 1st day of each month, payable in advance as resolved by the trustees, he said.
In all cases the ordinary levy amount remains the same for twelve months, it does not vary from month to month, and this payment is due on the first day of each month, said Bauer. The trustees are not obliged to invoice the owners of units prior to the payment date but only have to provide a statement of account with payments made receipted on the statement.
However, the trustees in sectional title schemes cannot take law into their own hands by disconnecting services or disallowing access to the complex if payments are not made, he said.
The trustees will usually have to send a letter of demand after five days if the levies are overdue and if the account is still not paid after 30 days, the body corporate can then start legal action processes against the owner.
If the trustees do disconnect services such as electricity or water, the owner of the unit can go to court or request arbitration for the reconnection and to be refunded any penalty fees that were charged, as well as damages, said Bauer.
“No matter how frustrating it may be for the trustees when accounts are not paid on time, they cannot take the law into their own hands. Owners, on the other hand, must pay their levies on time to ensure that their scheme is run efficiently and does not go into arrears on accounts that it has to cover each month,” he said.