Objections to Municipal Valuations Can Pay Off

Private Property South Africa
Anna-Marie Smith

From personal experience, and a positive one at that, it is worth obtaining property valuations in good time, so as to respond within the 30 day period after publication of the City of Cape Town’s upcoming General Valuation Roll (GV 2012), on 21 February.

When viewing the City of Cape Town’s General Valuation Roll (GV 2009) of 750 000 properties in 2009, and finding that our jointly owned property was overvalued by at least R600 000, the valuation and objection processes that followed, were smooth, painless and triumphant. In June 2011 the city announced rates assessments on residential properties valued in 2009, of cents in the rand of 0.0060620 and a R200 000 rebate, up from the previous assessment at 0.0049300.

Many reasons contributed to the ease of this process, one being increased public awareness, by way of the City’s website, printing reminders about the objection period on rates accounts, brochures inserted into rates accounts, and notices and articles published in community newspapers. The other was the willingness of local property professionals in the area. Within a reasonable period of two weeks, a total of three valuations were obtained from most obliging estate agents, with exceptional marketing skills, and also painfully aware of the convenience of obtaining property valuations digitally from the comfort of one’s home. As it turned out, each of the three valuations differed from one another, with the City’s initial assessment correlating with the highest valuation received, and the reviewed assessment with the lowest.

All that needed to be done was the completion of an objection form, obtained from a local municipal office and submitted with a stamped receipt, before the deadline, which for this year is 30 April 2013. A letter of acknowledgement of receipt followed, and although the City experienced processing delays that exceeded 12 months, the reviewed assessment in accordance with the reduced amount as per the objection, stood firm and rates were backdated accordingly. The entire process was a learning curve, one which brought increased knowledge of the private property market, the real estate industry and the highly skilled profession of property valuers.

Cape Town property owners can view notices in the Provincial Gazette on 8 February 2013, local newspapers once a week for two consecutive weeks on 15 and 21 February 2013. Owners need to ensure that the City has correct addresses, correlating with those of utility bills, and will be posted by 19 February 2013. GV 2012 will be available for public inspection and objection from 21 February 2013, with a 30 day objection period that ends on 30 April 2013. Ian Neilson, Executive Deputy Mayor and Mayoral Committee Member for Finance, says no late objections will be accepted after this date.

The city says objections must be motivated well and explains that valuations were derived from sales that occurred around the valuation date (1 July 2012) and it is, therefore, best for an objector to motivate his or her objection by using information about sales which occurred around that date. Information about property sales have been made available on the City’s website and it will also be available at the public inspection venues. Objectors can use this information to identify the properties sold comparable to their own properties and to motivate their objections in this way.

Rates constitute approximately 24% of what reaches the coffers of the City of Cape Town. It pays for services related to buildings, roads, green open spaces and parks, health clinics, libraries, fires, rescue, traffic and much more.

For valuations view: www.capetown.gov.za/propertyvaluations

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