City of Cape Town bosses on Thursday said they were owed more than R400 million by tenants who are in arrears.
Officials acknowledged that rent collection rates are not what it should be.
In a bid to address the problem, the city has opened a human settlement's contact centre in Manenberg.
Visitors are able to enquire about and settle accounts, as well as apply for indigent grants and rate rebates.
Mayor Patricia de Lille said people must pay their rent.
“You can’t just writes off arrears because then those people who can afford to pay but don’t want to, will also benefit.”
Human settlement's Mayco member Ernest Sonnenberg said the problem is cause for concern.
“We use the rental income for the upgrade of our units and maintenance.”