The KZN Intra-provincial Apportionment Guidelines have been revised to reflect the new conveyancing and notarial fee structures which came into effect on the 1st March 2013.
These Intra-Provincial Apportionment Guidelines apply only between attorneys, conveyancers and notaries public who practise in the Province of Kwazulu Natal, and who instruct Pietermaritzburg correspondents to lodge and register deeds on their behalf in the Pietermaritzburg Deeds Registry.
NOTE: THE FEES PAYABLE IN TERMS OF THESE APPORTIONMENT GUIDELINES ARE PAYABLE OUT OF THE TOTAL RECOMMENDED FEES, AND NOT IN ADDITION TO THE TOTAL RECOMMENDED FEES. (These fees are payable to the lodging conveyancer in respect of all matters where the Instructing conveyancer receives instructions on or after 1 March 2013).
My email to the KZN Law Society:
We follow the guidelines and the apportionment, but there are firms who don’t, and as they are merely guidelines, surely conveyancers can charge what they wish, as long as the charge is reasonable?
Law Society reply:
"Yes, the fees are merely guidelines, and are neither maximum fees – nor are they minimum fees. It is perfectly legal to negotiate ‘’down’’ from the guidelines – provided this is done within reason, and does not amount to touting. Where fees are negotiated to such an extent that they amount to touting, the Law Society will act as soon as a complaint is lodged. It is likewise competent to charge more than the guidelines where circumstances make this necessary, such as additional work, very complex or very time consuming transactions, and the like. It is up to the practitioner charging this to satisfy the Law Society of the need for a special fee if a complaint is lodged. Bear in mind, too, that the Registrar of Deeds is also a Taxing Master when it comes to Conveyancing fees. It has been the policy of the Council for some time that, except where circumstances make a higher fee justifiable, the conveyancing fees should not exceed the guideline fees. The onus rests on the conveyancer to establish this. Where additional or higher fees are to be charged, it may be prudent for the conveyancer to agree the higher fee with the client in advance and to record this is a written agreement. Nevertheless, the agreed fee also must still be reasonable. If Overcharging amounts to overreaching, this will likewise be sanctioned by the Law Society. You will have noted that the PMB lodging fees may not be added to the fee guidelines, but are payable out of the full fee."