Property valuations complaint, owners pay up

The deadline for objections to the City of Cape Town's property valuations may have passed on Monday, but property owners may continue to lodge complaints - for a fee.

Chris Gavor, the city's director of valuations, said on Tuesday there was "still a process" whereby property owners could complain to the city. They could ask for a revaluation of their properties.

Since February 21, 33 000 objections have been received. The city carried out 735 000 valuations.

Gavor said the figure excluded the 70 000 objections by sectional-title owners that had to be submitted by the council after a computer glitch led to double billing.

Owners of properties valued at less than R50 000 would not have to pay for a new valuation.

But those whose property was worth more than R50 000 would have to pay the city a fee, starting at R60, depending on the value of the property. This fee could increase to as much as R1 000 for properties valued at more than R1-million.

If the first valuation was found to have been inaccurate, the city would refund the revaluation fee.

Gavor said the fee was being charged to dissuade "chancers'' from objecting without having valid reasons. The city would, for example, reconsider valuations that were clearly not market-related.

"The impact on property rates is not a consideration in determining the property value, nor is the extent to which properties receive services. These considerations are taken into account when the rates policy is determined."

The municipal value of all properties in the city tripled from R195-billion in 2000 to R654-billion in 2006.

The city has been at pains to assure property owners that the higher valuations will not automatically translate into higher rates bills.

Gavor said objections had to relate to specific properties and not general complaints about service delivery and non-valuation issues.

"If the city picks up on any other errors, it will do a supplementary valuation too."

Objectors would have to pay the new rates while their appeals were being considered. Depending on whether the valuation was adjusted up or down, they would be refunded or would have to pay in.

Despite the initial March 24 deadline being extended to April 30, hundreds of property owners thronged the Cape Town Civic Centre to file last-minute objections.

Gavor said the city's staff had managed to process the slew of objections received late on Monday afternoon.

Property owners who disagree with the city's verdict on their objections may appeal to the Valuations Appeal Board, an independent body established by premier Ebrahim Rasool.

Gavor said most of the objections received were from sectional-title owners. This is the first time that the city's 120 000 sectional title owners will pay rates based on valuations of their individual units.

From July, sectional-title owners are to be billed monthly, as other residential property owners are, unless an annual bill is requested.

  • This article was originally published on page 3 of Cape Times on May 02, 2007

Article from: www.iol.co.za