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Who is responsible for utility bills – landlord or tenant?

The landlord is ordinarily responsible for the payment of rates. Municipal utility bills, i.e. water, sanitation, and electricity/gas, are usually paid by the tenant. This saves the landlord the hassle of paying the invoices and allocating payments from the bill to the tenant.

However, if the tenant does not pay the municipality on time, and the landlord has no access to the municipal bills, the property owner can be in arrears and not realise it. The fact that the bills are sent to the tenant does not eliminate the landlord’s liability to pay the utilities.


Simon Dippenaar | SD Law Cape Town

Cape Town attorney Simon Dippenaar has a BBusSc LLB degree and Professional Diploma in Legal Practice from the University of Cape Town, and is an admitted attorney of the High Court of South Africa. He is the founder and director of private legal practice, Simon Dippenaar & Associates, with offices in Cape Town and Gauteng representing South African and international clients.

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