Don’t overpay on property rates: check before deadline

Joburg property owners, is your municipal valuation too high?

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23/02/2023 07:00:17

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Don’t overpay on property rates: check before deadline

The Organisation Undoing Tax Abuse (OUTA), through its Community Action Network (CAN) initiative, encourages ratepayers to check that the City of Joburg updated property valuations are reasonable.

According to Tim Tyrrell, Project Manager in the CAN initiative, the City of Joburg has determined a new value for 934 652 properties in the metro area, and will charge these property owners rates based on these valuations from July 2023.

“If you are a property owner in the metro area, whether it’s your residence or business premises, you will be affected by the new general valuation roll. You have till 31 March to review the newly proposed valuation and object to it should it be unreasonable. If the City over-values your property, it will overcharge you on rates,” says Tyrrell.

On 22 February, OUTA hosted a fully booked webinar which explained to property owners the valuations process, how it links to the rates increases and how to oppose unreasonable valuation increases (watch here).

The City determines the values of your property on a market-related “willing seller to willing buyer” value as at 1 July 2022. The rates are charged at a rate-in-the-rand based on the valuations.

“We have already determined that some properties in the City have been overvalued and community members have already objected to some increases of over 70%. One property owner indicated how, with the new increase, his property rates will go up by R1 000 per month. If you don’t object, you accept,” says Tyrrell.

The City has indicated that property owners have 45 days to object from the day the general valuation roll for 2023 was published on 15 February 2023 and closes on 31 March 2023.

OUTA has partnered with Lightstone, an independent supplier of accurate and up-to-date property data and valuations that are used by most leading banks, estate agents, insurers and other property professionals, to provide a Property Value Buyer Report that is accepted by your municipality as supporting documentation if you want to lodge an objection. The Property Value Buyer Report, which can be purchased here for R172.50, accurately determines the value of your property based on comparable sales data, and features useful information such as the legal description, ownership history, size, and location of the property. It also lists the most recent sales and includes the local amenities in the surrounding area. 

“There should be no discrepancy between your municipal property valuation and your property’s actual value. Failure to object to discrepancies between these two values not only affects your rates and taxes, but can also affect future sales values. It is up to you, the homeowner, to identify and object to any discrepancies, not the municipality, so be sure to ascertain both values and ensure that no issues are present,” says Hayley Ivins-Downes, Head of Digital for Lightstone. 

Here is the process property owners can follow to assess whether the new valuation is fair: 

1) Find your property on the valuation roll and check its new valuation by clicking here.

2) Compare the new value with the current value on your latest City of Joburg invoice.

3) If the new value has significantly increased, you can object to it to potentially get a reduced value.

4) If you think the new value is fair, you don’t need to do anything. If you would like to object continue with the process. 

5) To determine the value of your property, you can either purchase a Property Value Buyer Report from Lightstone’s website (click here) or get an independent property valuation.

6) Lodge an objection to your new property rates by clicking here.

OUTA’s CAN initiative aims to empower residents and businesses to better participate in the affairs of their respective municipalities.

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Our work is made possible though donations by our paying supporters.

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