New property owners not liable for old debt, court rules

Municipalities cannot hold a new property owner liable for a previous owner’s historical municipal debt, the Constitutional Court ruled on Tuesday.

The precedent-setting ruling gives relief to home and business owners, who have been saddled with years of historical municipal debt – as long as 20 years – and have been denied municipal services until the debt had been paid. The outstanding debt relates to water, electricity, rates and taxes associated to a property.

In a ruling majority written by Justice Edwin Cameron, the court found that upon transfer of a property, a new owner is not liable for old municipal debt. The court upheld a ruling by the high court in Pretoria in November last year – mainly that the liability of the old municipal debt rests with the previous owner.

www.moneyweb.co.za/news/south-africa/new-property-owners-not-liable-for-old-debt-court-rules/

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