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NMMM clamps down on unpaid rates accounts

The NMMM has a system whereby they block prepaid meters on properties where landlord accounts are overdue.  In the case of investment properties with tenants in occupation, it becomes a huge inconvenience as they cannot purchase electricity and often run out before the landlord has resolved this issue.

Please be aware that the municipalty also no longer posts statements to owners.  It is the owners responsibility to find out the total amount that is due by requesting this each month in one of the following ways:

Once the meter a blocked, tenants are only able to purchase electricity once the full outstanding amount plus a reconnection fee is paid and reflecting in the NMMM account.  This whole process can take days, with some tenants incurring losses of freezer items or going days with no electricity and therefore no hot water.

Should the prepaid meter at your rental property ever be blocked, you will need to take the following steps:

  • Contact the call centre to confirm the current outstanding balance on 041 506 5555, quoting your account number
  • Settle the full outstanding balance plus a reconnection fee (currently +/- R350)
  • Take proof of payment (including reconnection fee) to the Munelec offices situated in 47-48 Harrower Rd, Kensington, Port Elizabeth, to have the prepaid meter unblocked
  • If you are not based in PE the proof of payment needs to be faxed to 041 506 1442 and emailed to reconnections@mandelametro.gov.za – after sending through the documents contact the call centre to ensure meter is unblocked.

If you would like your property professionally managed by a reputable rental agency, call Nikki on 072 245 6037.

Rental Property Inspections

The importance of conducting ingoing and outgoing inspections cannot be overemphasised. One of the most common disputes between landlords and tenants concerns the return of the deposit. The best way to avoid a dispute is to ensure that a proper ingoing and outgoing inspection is attended to.

Inspections are required by The Rental Housing Act and the following needs to be adhered to in terms thereof:

  • A landlord and tenant must jointly, before the tenant moves in, inspect the property to ascertain the existence of defects or damage to the property.
  • Three days prior to the tenant vacating the property, the landlord and tenant must again jointly inspect the property to determine whether the tenant caused any damage.
  • In practice the Estate Agent may attend the inspection on the landlord’s behalf. However an occupier cannot attend the inspection on the tenant’s behalf. The tenant that signs the lease agreement must attend the inspection.
  • It is important for Estate Agents to take notes and photographs, clearly showing the overall condition of the property and recording any defects. Every defect regardless of its size should be noted and photographed and a copy of the defects held by the owner, the estate agent and the tenant. The document, as well as the photographs, serve as a reference when the tenant moves out and the landlord calculates the costs of any additional damage.

It is important to distinguish between damages and “fair” wear and tear. A tenant cannot be held liable for “fair” wear and tear on a property. A common example is carpets. Carpets have a limited life span and although you can deduct the costs to clean the carpets when the tenant vacates, you cannot expect a tenant to replace carpets which have become old and worn out over their usual life span.

The landlord has a duty to provide the tenant with the relevant invoices as proof of the damages. A landlord cannot merely estimate the costs.

In order to navigate the practical effects RHA we recommend that you consult your attorney or a property rental agent for advice and assistance sooner rather than later.  Harcourts Beachfront 041 583 4034.

 (Article Courtesy: Kaplan Blumberg)