Seeff challenges preposterous property valuations

Municipal assessments that have seen some properties more than double in value since the previous property valuation in 2007

Estate agents are being inundated with requests for property valuations in the aftermath of the recent controversial municipal assessments that have seen some properties more than double in value since the previous property valuation in 2007.

Michael Hauser, property consultant for Seeff City Bowl, as well as head of Seeff's German International Division, said that in the run up to the closure of the objection period on April 30, he had been approached by at least 30 people who were desperate to get some idea of why the municipality had valued their properties as they had. Rates will be calculated according to these massively inflated values.

According to Hauser, property values on individual homes have increased by between 10 and 460 percent. Some property owners were told their homes were worth more than far larger houses right next door. There were massive differences of the percentage increases on properties in the same road.

"It is ridiculous. We really have a huge problem. It just doesn't make sense - how are they calculating these? They are wasting everyone's time. It creates a lot of unnecessary work for the owner to do the research to obtain a lower valuation," he said.

The municipality is adamant that valuations are market related and say that factors that may have created differences between 2007 and 2010 include additions and alterations, land status changes and valuations that were too low in the first place. (Cape Argus)

However, a pensioner who has lived in his Gardens home since 1969 said the 460 percent increase in the value of his property - from R 1,88 million to R8,7 million - was "absolutely preposterous." He said that although there had been an increase in the value of his property when the 2007 valuation process was completed, it had been nothing like this. He said a valuation from Seeff would enable him to object to both the valuation and the inevitable rates increase that would be "killing" considering that most services, including electricity, were becoming increasingly expensive.

The Breuers who have lived in the same house in Oranjezicht for over 25 years have seen their property valuation rocket from R3.8 million to R9,2 million - an increase of 136 percent! "Our house is just like it was when we bought it. We haven't modernised it or altered it in anyway. We can't pay the higher rates. We will have to hand over the house and move out!" They, too, will lodge an objection.

Hauser, together with a number of angry residents, is demanding that the municipality makes the formula that was used to calculate the so-called market related evaluations public. The municipality, however, has refused residents' requests, replying that the general public would not understand it, anyway. (Cape Argus)

"This is a circus and the degree of arrogance is unbelievable. We want to know how their formula works so that we can work out the values of our properties for ourselves. If we don't know how to do that, at least we could take it to a professional valuator who could give us a more reliable result," said one resident who owns two identical properties in the same street in Tamboerskloof. The value of the first one has increased by 13 percent while that of the second property escalated by 37 percent. The value of a neighbour's property increased by 44 percent. This property owner has
decided not to lodge an objection because she risks seeing the first home's value increased to match that of the second.

She pointed out that municipal officials could not argue that these were market related prices in relation to 2007 values. This was conducted when the property market was booming. Prices had actually dropped markedly since then. Neighbours had been forced accept less than the asking price for their property which had been priced at far less than the municipality would have valued it, she said.

"We are very concerned for the many older residents who can no longer afford to stay in the City. We are also worried that some home owners may not be aware that their properties are overvalued and will only realize when they get the new rates bill and it is too late to lodge an objection," Hauser

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