Municipalities countrywide are making preparations for the next large-scale property valuation, which could impact property owners' pockets.
The lifespan of the initial valuation rolls in terms of the Municipal Property Rates Act is nearing at close. The rolls have to be adjusted every five years, which period can be extended by one year.
Espach explains that although the act came into force in 2006, most municipalities drew up their valuation rolls between 2007 and 2009.
This was the first time that both land and improvements were taken into account and farm land was included on a broad scale, ignoring the former sliding scale.
Cape Town is already using a second roll, but most other municipalities, including Johannesburg, Ekurhuleni, Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay and Mangaung will only compile a new one next year. eThekwini is starting to use a new roll this year.
Municipalities begin preparations at least a year ahead of time. Tshwane's valuations start in February so that they can be published for comment in January next year. Johannesburg's tenders for the valuation work closed late last year.
We advise property owners to establish what the schedule is for the municipality in which their properties are situated.
Statutorily the authority concerned must inform the owner of the new valuation, but this does not always happen. If the permissible period has expired without an owner registering an objection, it becomes more difficult to correct faulty valuations and an owner could for the next five or six years be saddled with a high rates account.
Many property owners received a severe shock in the previous round. Many municipalities appointed new assessors who did not know the area and many mistakes ensued. .
In a case the valuation of a shopping centre was reduced by the appeal board from R555m to R323m by the appeal board. Some of these issues are still outstanding.
If, after an objection, a valuation is adjusted by more than 10%, the law determines that it must be reviewed by the appeal court. None of Johannesburg’s reviews have yet been finalised.
The law allows a minimum of 30 days for objections, but many municipalities extend this to 60 or 90 days.