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Ask a lawyer – Who pays for ‘dunning charges’?

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Is this “dunning charge” imposed by the Cape Town City Council legal? If so, is it for the landlord’s or the tenant’s account?


Insofar as dunning charges are concerned, the City of Cape Town is lawfully entitled to impose such charges upon property owners, and it is furthermore entitled to impose VAT thereon (as would be the case with any registered VAT vendor that imposes a collection charge on arrears).

Insofar as liability for those charges is concerned, the answer would be wholly dependent on the nature of the dunning charge in issue.

If, for example, the dunning charge has been imposed as a result of the property owner’s failure to pay his/her rates and taxes, then, of course, the charge will be for the owner’s account.

If, however, the charge has been levied as a result of accrued arrears in respect of services such as sewerage or refuse removal, or charges pertaining to the supply of water or electricity, and these are charges that are for the tenant’s account (pursuant to the terms of the lease agreement), then the dunning charge will be for the tenant’s account.

According to Investopedia, the definition of “dunning” is making insistent demands for the payment of a debt. Dunning, in the business context, refers to the collections process, whereby a business communicates with customers who have fallen behind in paying their bills. The term is believed to have originated in the 17th Century.

Got a burning legal question? Email david@hometimes.co.za and we’ll be sure to assist you

Who is Marlon Shevelew?

Marlon Shevelew, director of Marlon Shevelew and Associates.

Marlon Shevelew, director of Marlon Shevelew and Associates.

Marlon Shevelew is the director of Marlon Shevelew and Associates Inc. a law firm specialising in rental property, contractual, consumer and company law.



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