The Top 5 necessities for sending a valid Letter of Demand

When you first realise that your tenant has not paid the rent, it can be daunting to start the debt collection process. The risk of collecting the full outstanding amount from a delinquent tenant is stressful to take on – the best first step is to send a Letter of Demand as soon as the breach has been committed, and to ensure that a legally correct and lawfully compliant Letter of Demand is used when kicking off your debt collection.

The TPN Legal Team have set out the necessities of a Letter of Demand and what needs to be included in that letter to ensure that it is valid and that no time or effort is wasted.

Debtor Details

Your Letter of Demand must be clearly addressed to the debtor in question. This will include the following information:

Debtor’s name – the full name and surname of the debtor that appears on their relevant identity document must be included in the letter.
Full address – you must make sure to include all the necessary addresses that the Letter of Demand is going to be sent to. This typically involves a physical address, postal address, or email address. It is best to include all the applicable delivery addresses to ensure that the debtor receives the letter.
Your own details – you will need to include your own details (full name and contact details) so that the debtor understands exactly who is demanding the outstanding amount.

Arrears amount

The full amount that is outstanding at the time of sending out the Letter of Demand must be demanded within the letter. This will include the amount written in numbers as well as words to avoid any confusion or ambiguity when it comes to what exact amount is being demanded. Without this information, the debtor is not aware of the total amount payable and will render your Letter of Demand invalid and unenforceable.

What can you send a TPN Letter of Demand for? Arrear rental, outstanding utilities, or unpaid levies in the property sector, and unpaid school fees in the education sector.

Time period for outstanding amount to be paid

Depending on if section 14 of the Consumer Protection Act (‘CPA’) is applicable to your particular lease agreement, there are specific time periods that must be provided to the debtor to pay their outstanding amount in order for it to be a valid demand letter.

If the CPA does apply to your lease agreement, then you are obliged to provide 20 business days for the debtor to pay their outstanding debt.
If the CPA does not apply to your lease agreement, you are only obliged to give the debtor 7 calendar days to pay their outstanding rental.
We have prepared an easy-to-read and simple guide to determining which Letter of Demand to use in a particular situation, you can download it here.

NCA compliance – The adverse listing clause

A fantastic debt collection method is the loading of an adverse listing on a debtor’s credit profile due to non-payment of the outstanding debt. However, there are certain requirements that must be met before you can adversely list a debtor – these requirements can be obtained from our Guide to Adverse Listings.

One of these requirements is that a Letter of Demand must be sent, and contained in that letter is a warning that should the outstanding payment not be received within the time period demanded, it may result in their credit record being adversely affected.

This clause is vital to include in your Letter of Demand because if it has been omitted, and should you then require the debtor to be adversely affected, you will need to send out a new Letter of Demand and start the entire process over again.

Note: No prior written consent is required to load adverse listings.

Consequences of non-payment

Your Letter of Demand must include the specific consequences of non-payment and must reference that if the full payment is not received, then the relevant legal action will be instituted against the tenant. This could include eviction proceedings or arrear collection proceedings, such as the institution of a summons for the collection of the outstanding rental. This warning as well as the warning detailed in point 4 above sets the expectations going forward if no payments are made and gives the debtor the necessary alert to avoid legal action and pay their outstanding amount.

Courts across South Africa have accepted the TPN Letters of Demand and Letters of Cancellation as binding documents to rely on for any legal action, provided that the right letter has been sent. This eliminates the pressure of drafting a valid letter by providing you with a completely compliant Letter of Demand sent directly from the TPN system at an affordable fee.

Get your outstanding debt collection processes started the right way! Visit our website or call 0861 876 000 to get started.

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