Are trustees allowed to cut electricity supply?

In many sectional title schemes there is an ongoing problem of short payment or non-payment of levies, and it sometimes happens that the trustees decide to take matters into their own hands by disconnecting the electricity supply to the unit inhabited by the non-payer.

This, however, is illegal if they have done so without a court order authorising this, says Michael Bauer, general manager of the property management company IHFM.

In South Africa, legislation is clear in that shutting off services such as electricity without a statutory right to do so is an offence.

The supply of electricity is governed by the Electricity Regulation Act 4 of 2006 and section 22 deals with the powers of the licensee. Only the holder of the license which is granted by the Regulator is allowed to disconnect the electricity supply to a unit - and this must be for non-payment of the electricity, not for any other outstanding amounts, said Bauer.

Only bulk suppliers of electricity such as Eskom or a subsidiary such as City Power or the local suppliers can disconnect the electricity supply after notice is given to the resident but because bodies corporate or trustees are not the licensee or the distributor, they cannot cut the supply to any section.

Trustees have to deal with the non-payment of levies as provided in the Sectional Titles Act, which in sections 37 (2) and (2A), states that the body corporate can deal with the non-paying owner in the magistrates or High Court.

Bodies corporate do, however, sometimes take the law into their own hands by cutting off the electricity supply because they see this an effective and quick way of dealing with the situation, said Bauer, and in most cases get away with it because the owner will most likely not have the financial means to take them to court.

The recourse owners will have in future if they find themselves situations such as these will be to go to the Community Schemes Ombud, who will be able to assist those who do not have lawyers and cannot afford expensive court fees.

"The key is, however, for owners to pay their levies in full, which would alleviate the stress trustees have to go through in managing and juggling funds when they do not receive payments. Withholding levy payments puts the scheme in a precarious financial position and trustees often have the arduous task of sorting out collections of funds way after they are due," said Bauer.

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 24 Apr 2018
      The thing about the property ladder is that at some point in our lives we all have reason to want to climb a rung or two higher. Sometimes, it’s because we’ve outgrown our previous dream home, or because we want to be in a better neighbourhood that’s closer to work or to schools. Sometimes it’s because our circumstances have changed, and we’re taking care of elderly parents or relatives. Sometimes, it’s just because we want a property that reflects the financial status our hard work has won.
    • 20 Apr 2018
      Whenever changes in the political ecosystem of a traditional property market create uncertainty, smart investors begin to look elsewhere for new opportunities. Property experts at IP Global have analysed the trends and crunched the numbers to find new markets to explore in Europe and the United States.
    • 20 Apr 2018
      Energy and water self-sufficiency are increasingly important factors in home buyers’ choice of property – especially in Cape Town where the extreme drought of the past few years has made municipal supply costly as well as uncertain.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      During the last decade, rampant development has progressively transformed Cape Town’s property landscape with densification being the order of the day, but there are still one or two hidden gems like Scarborough which have retained their original character, offering an inimitable lifestyle and an attractive investment opportunity.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      The rental market is a cut-throat sector of the real estate market that waits for nobody. According to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, first-time renters need to be fully prepared before they even start the process of looking for a place to rent in order to avoid the disappointment of losing out on their ideal property.
    • 19 Apr 2018
      Choosing to buy your first home instead of continuing to rent is a big decision that will usually take some time to put into action, but the sooner you can save up a sizeable deposit, the closer you will be to reaching your goal.
    • 18 Apr 2018
      Selling your home is no small task and as you will quickly find out, there are a lot of misconceptions about the process. Gerhard van der Linde, Seeff's MD in Pretoria East lists the top 5 misconceptions when you are selling your home.
    • 18 Apr 2018
      The Cape Town municipality is now installing water-management devices at properties that have been non-compliant with the new level 5 water restrictions and there are talks of fines between R5,000 and R10,000 for households that use too much water.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us