The Trustee after each Annual General Meeting pass a resolution for levies to become payable. The standard resolution is that levies are payable monthly in advance before the 1st of the month to avoid interest and credit control procedures.
Trafalgar is registered as a Debt Collector with the Council for Debt Collectors. In terms of this we are allowed to charge certain fees (as prescribed by the Council for Debt Collectors from time to time) for the work we do in terms of the collection of the levies on behalf of the Body Corporate.
Should your account be paid timeously you will never have to pay these fees.
For more information, the Debt Collectors Council – website www.debtcol-council.co.za, can be contacted.
We have a standard collection process we advise our Trustees to follow:
Each complex is allocated to a specific Debt Collector. This ensures fast and efficient service as well as better personal knowledge of the intricacies of the particular estate, as they specialise on all matters pertaining to those specific estates.
Should no payment reflect on client’s account by the 7th of the month, interest is raised automatically and is backdated pro rata in line with the aforementioned interest resolution. As a gesture of goodwill certain Debt Collecting charges are also not raised until the 7th of each month by Trafalgar in order to keep the costs of collection as low as possible.
On the 4th, 8th, 15th and 25th of each month a SMS and formal letter is sent to each client whose account is in arrears which SMS’s vary in content according to the risk profile of the specific account taking into consideration payment trends in the market place.
- The letter and SMS sent on the 4th day of each month is a letter sent to all owners who have made only partial payment of their accounts and is meant as a courteous payment reminder.
- The letter and SMS sent on the 8th of each month is intended and sent to unit owners who are not delinquent and have only not made payment of their last levy billed for. Again this letter is a courteous reminder that payment is due, and explains in further detail why timeous payment of levies is so critically important
- The letter and SMS sent on the 15th day of each month is a formal demand and advises the unit owner that continued lack pf payment or unwillingness to enter into a payment arrangement will result in a legal handover of the account which will attract substantial legal fees and will lead to a negative listing on ITC, being in line with the regulations to the recently passed STSM Act which now has set this as a peremptory requirement.
- The letter and SMS sent on the 25th of each month is sent to owners who have already had their accounts handed over to attorneys. The letter details the effect of a civil judgment taken against them and urges them to enter into a payment arrangement and to maintain payment of current levies billed for, which if not done will result in multiple judgments against them.
During the total process mentioned above, telephone calls are made to client, and emails sent to client informing him of outstanding account and urging the unit owner to enter into an arrangement to repay the levies due.
According to decisions taken at Trustees’/ other meetings of Bodies Corporate and as set out in the aforementioned handover resolution, the following legal process is followed: (Decisions taken are with regard to the time period, i.e. whether it should be handed over when client is in arrears with 3 months’ payments or whether longer periods of non-payment should be allowed)
- Accounts to be handed over to attorneys for collection, are forwarded to our Inhouse Collections Attorney, who will interrogate every account and consider alternative methods of collection prior to selecting an attorney to hand over the account to for formal collection in a court of law.
- Instructions are sent to attorney to commence legal action, which instruction is acknowledged by the attorney as being received;
- Attorney contacts client and informs him that account is now at attorneys’ firm for legal action and a formal letter of demand is sent to the unit owner by the attorney;
The legal process now commences, being a lengthy process by nature which is heavily regulated by legislation and riddled with external dependencies which potentially can clog up the legal system even further. The legal process can be pended / stopped at any time if a payment arrangement is made with client and same is also the policy of Trafalgar, provided all the requirements for a valid payment arrangement have been met. During this time debt collector still contacts client in an attempt to collect the outstanding debt, as well as current charges, on the levy account as well as to remind the owner that continued default will lead to multiple judgments taken. Once the legal process has commenced our internal attorney manages these accounts and the service delivery of the attorneys to ensure that the attorneys are acting in the best interest of the estate, and are doing so in the most cost effective manner.
The Sectional Title Schemes Management Act stipulates that a member is liable for all reasonable legal costs and disbursements – as taxed or agreed by the member – that the Body Corporate incurred in collecting the arear levies or other amounts owing to the Body Corporate; or in enforcing compliance with the Acts or Rules.