Valuations - a collaborative process
“To many people, it appeared as if the values on their properties, on which their rates are based, shot up overnight,” says Municipal Valuer Piet Eloff.
This was not the case, he stresses. He points out that the General Valuation Roll is updated every four years with an option of an extension approved by The MEC: CoGTA in line with the Municipal Property Rates Act. The previous General Valuation roll was effective from July 2008 to June 2013, reflecting property values from 2007. The new roll reflects independent valuations based on 2012 values.
Property sales in the area and aerial photography, as well as prevailing economic conditions, were taken into consideration when determining the market value. In one calendar year, two different valuation rolls were used by the City, for the period January 1 2013 to June 30 2013 general valuation 2008 values were used, from July 1 2013 to December 31 2013 general valuation 2013 values were used. The MPRA requires that notices are sent to all property owners advising them of the impending change and their right to lodge objections. Owners were given an extended period of 70 days to inspect and submit objections to the Valuation Roll.
The General Valuation Roll included over 812000 residential, commercial and institutional properties. There were a total of 85 000 objections lodged to the Municipal Valuer, of which 23 000 came from the public and 62000 were lodged by the Director: Rates and Taxes on behalf of the City of Joburg to ensure the independence of the Municipal Valuer as per the MPRA. Residents who did not object by the required time received notices of the finalisation of the objections that had been lodged by the City and subsequently were able to use these to lodge appeals.
Eloff says despite direct mailings and extensive information campaigns by the City, there are still challenges among property owners regarding the General and Supplementary Valuation rolls and the owners’ rights to lodge objections to valuations and categories. Once the objections are finalised by the municipal valuer, the objector and/or owner has the right to appeal to an independent appeal board.
“There is no cost to the objector and or owner to object or appeal,” he says, “Costs are carried by the City as part of its service delivery to the public. This is a legislated process that is undertaken to ensure that the valuation process is fair and transparent. It is very important that property owners understand the legislation and take advantage of public participation opportunities. This should be a collaborative process that serves the long-term interests of all residents of the City.”
The next valuation roll will be implemented in July 1 2017. The City will start communicating intensively next year on processes that will make the compilation of the general valuation easier on the residents.
This article has been paid for by the City of Johannesburg. Contents and pictures were supplied and signed off by City of Johannesburg.