Joburg homeowners up in arms over steep rate hikes

Joburg homeowners up in arms over steep rate hikes

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WhatsApp chat groups are buzzing with complaints that properties have been ‘over’ valued in the new municipal valuations, but the City says they can lodge objections.

Homeowners in the city’s northern suburbs are up in arms over the recent “over” valuation of their properties, which they complain will see them unfairly paying steep rate hikes.

Homeowners from suburbs such as Linden, Northcliff, Maroeladal and Fourways have had their properties evaluated upwards – a move the City of Johannesburg (COJ) has admitted will lead to rate increases.

In a conversation with a WhatsApp chat group, a resident asks “if anyone else received their new valuation on their property from COJ? Mine just jumped over R600K, do you think this is right?”

The question prompted shocking answers that included: “Ours went up +/- R400K”, “Ours went up over R1m. A 70% increase”, “Some people In Linden have the same, one person’s went up over R1m” and  “Not sure it’s a true market reflection I would say it’s probably 10 – 15% above market.”

“Mine is also up 70% do we object or do you think this is market related now in our area?” inquired another house owner.

Another resident said the recent valuation was overstated because “I monitor the value of my property very closely. Then I continuously benchmark my valuation against actual sold prices in Vicborne. Occasionally verified by estate agents”.

“Sadly the value of my property has hardly moved in 18 months. The new municipal valuation is 88 percent higher than previously. In the same period, the actual value of my property has increased by 26 percent. Put into numbers; the municipality values my property R600,000 over market value”.

Responding to queries and suggestions that the city was unfairly raising the value of properties in order to rake in much needed revenue, Deidre Hendricks of the COJ said: “The City of Johannesburg is self-funding and has always relied on charges for rates to fund service delivery”.

Hendricks said this was not a new practice and every year, the city embarks on an extensive public participation process to craft a rates policy that is both equitable and fair.

“This year, the city will also implement the 2018 general valuation roll, which assigns a value to every registered property in Johannesburg. As part of the implementation process, residents have received notices informing them of their new municipal values,” said Hendricks in reply to questioned posed by the African News Agency (ANA).

“These values have been based on, among others, market values, i.e. what a property sale would yield when a willing seller and willing buyer transact. Will this impact property rates? Yes, it will.”

However, this must be seen within context said Hendricks, who explained that the Municipal Property Rates Act (2006) determines that municipalities publish a general valuation every four years. Johannesburg received a 12-month extension from the MEC for local government.

“This means that the current general valuation takes into consideration the sales, market value increases, impacts and movements, year-on-year, since its last roll in 2013.”

Hendricks said the general evaluation impacts all registered properties across Johannesburg, applying the same criteria across the board.

“The City wishes to emphasise that property owners who feel that the value of their property is incorrect, are advised to make use of the opportunity to lodge objections in order to protect their interests.”

The valuation roll being used was compiled with a valuation date of 2 July 2012. Hendricks said the valuation date for the next valuation roll “GV2018” is 1 July 2017.

Joburg residents bemoan sky-high property revaluations

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