Registered Letters for Unpaid Utility Charges
Department: Saskatchewan Ministry of Government Relations
WHEREAS Section 369 of The Municipalities Act requires a registered letter to be sent to both the owner and tenant respecting unpaid charges for utility service to the parcel and the consequences of the unpaid charges at least 30 days before the amounts are added to the tax roll;
BE IT RESOLVED that SARM lobby the Province to have the cost of sending registered letters to be sent to both the owner and tenant respecting unpaid utility charges added to the tax roll for each parcel of land.
MINISTRY OF GOVERNMENT RELATIONS' RESPONSE
The amendments to section 369 of The Municipalities Act, requiring a registered letter to both tenant and landlord before unpaid municipal utility amounts are added to the taxes, were made to balance the interests of tenants and landlords with those of municipalities regarding how and when unpaid amounts are added to the taxes.
Having said this, the current wording in sections 23 and 31 of The Municipalities Act does allow the municipality to set additional amounts or percentages to be charged for arrears relating to municipal utility rates and charges, subject to the approval of the Saskatchewan Municipal Board.
According to the Saskatchewan Municipal Board, the cost for a registered letter informing tenants and landlords how and when unpaid utility amounts are added to the taxes would be considered as an additional charge, so long as that cost is specifically identified in a utility rates bylaw.
This supports full transparency for all parties regarding the consequences of unpaid municipal utility charges and government encourages municipalities to use this approach.