Joburg: value your home to save money

Private Property South Africa

Just when you thought you had enough to worry about as a resident of Joburg, now you need to check your property valuation too – or risk paying an inflated rates bill for the next four years.

Johannesburg residents are being urged to check their municipal property valuations on their rates bills following the City of Johannesburg’s (COJ’s) release of its General Valuation Roll on 20 February.

The roll has been made available for a period of 70 days for public inspection and comment during which time all property owners should ensure that the correct valuation has been assigned to their property.

The amount that the COJ charges for rates every month is based on your property’s municipal valuation. If the valuation increases then the rates you pay each month will increase and vice versa.

If you believe that the valuation assigned to your property does not reflect its true market value, you need to lodge an objection before the 70-day period expires. Failure to lodge an objection now could result in the value listed as that attached to your property until the next valuation roll is issued in June 2018.

The city can be wrong

Various factors and formulas are taken into account by the COJ when calculating the value of properties. Of course it’s an imperfect science as properties are continually being added and dropped from the roll. As such, mistakes happen and the incorrect value can be assigned to a property. The current roll is a case in point.

According to reports, approximately 85 000 properties may be affected by the outcome of objections to the roll. Interestingly, the COJ itself has objected to approximately 64 000 of its own valuations. As such, there are property owners out there who could be unwittingly affected.

It could be argued that the process could have been streamlined if residents had been notified timeously. According to law firm Schindlers, the COJ is obliged to inform residents that their property was due to appear on a roll.

It’s in the mail …

For whatever reason, the COJ opted to mail these notices in batches via ordinary mail, which means that some owners may find themselves in a rather sticky situation because they now have little time in which to act. Notably, if the window period to lodge an appeal is missed, the situation can become very complicated, costly and time-consuming to correct.

According to Schindlers, not receiving notice does not absolve property owners of the responsibility of checking the valuation roll and object if the property valuation is not in line with market values.

In short, make a point of determining your property’s valuation status. If you find that it is incorrect, lodge an objection now. Objections must be submitted to the COJ. The COJ will then assess your objection and notify you of the outcome. For more information on where to view the rolls and how to lodge objections, visit the COJ website.

For a good start to determining the value of your property, visit Lightstone (which values properties according to the Deeds Office) or chat to an area specialist agent, whom you can find on the Private Property site by simply entering the area in which you reside.

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