The City of Johannesburg’s General Valuation Roll for 2018 was published on the 20th February, following a city-wide valuation process, certified midway through 2017. The City Council of Johannesburg – in conjunction with the Independent Municipal Valuer and professional analysts and data collectors – assigned municipal values to almost 900 000 registered properties using a computer-assisted mass appraisal (CAMA) system. According the Deidre Hendricks of the City of Johannesburg, the Valuation Roll system takes into account the annual market value increases, impacts, sale and movements during the Valuation Roll period, beginning mid-2013.
The outcome has caused city-wide distress. More than 70% of the properties increased exponentially – between 20% and 80% of their market value at 1 July 2017 – whilst almost 6% of the properties increased by more than 81%. Homeowners have critised the valuation as excessive, even ludicrous, driving up municipal bills to well beyond what many can realistically afford.
According to the City of Johannesburg: the valuation roll is valid for four years, from 1 July 2018 until 30 June 2022, and municipal rates are calculated on the same value for the four-year period, unless changes are made that may affect the property's value. In other words, the municipality uses the valuation roll to determine property rates.
Inaccurate, over-priced market values will have a detrimental effect on the property market – having experienced several years of significant pressure in SA’s stagnant economy. High rates and taxes will force owners to sell, flooding a market already short on quality buyers with unaffordable property. Both the market and the economy will suffer.
MMC for Finance, Cllr Funzela Ngobeni , announced that the new valuations would result in considerable increases in the cost of water, electricity and refuse removal on commercial and industrial; residential, mining and municipal properties; agricultural holdings and farming land.
Within two weeks of opening the General Valuation Roll to the public, thousands of residents had formally submitted objections. In response, the Independent Municipal Valuer advised Mayor Herman Mashaba to further investigate the numerous claims that properties had been over-valued. Mashaba later announced that the City of Johannesburg would revise the new property valuation process. The Mayor’s Office reported that communication was underway with the homeowners of more than 8000 “potentially “ over-valued properties.
The General Valuation Roll has been opened to the public for a 45-day period, ending 6 April 2018. The City Council has urged members of the public to participate in the amendment, as prescribed by the Municipal Property Rates Act 6 of 2004. Failure to do so may result in homeowners having to pay excessively high municipal rates until mid-2022.
Ratepayers may inspect the Valuation Roll at any of the 12 selected venues City-wide. Alternatively, the homeowner may register on the CoJ website and complete the online objection form. It’s crucial that the property owner provides market research that proves that their property is over-valued - such as comparative sales in the area - and uploads that on completion of the online objection form. Objections can not be finalised without proof.
The CoJ website provides comprehensive information and guidance on how to object or appeal the value assigned by the Valuation Roll. They state explicitly:
NO FORM EMAIL OR FACSIMILE (FAX) SUBMISSIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED.
NO LATE OBJECTIONS WILL BE ACCEPTED.
CLOSING DATE FOR OBJECTIONS IS 15:00 ON 6 April 2018.
THE COMPLETED OBJECTION FORMS CAN BE RETURNED BY HAND TO ANY OF THE 12 SERVICE CENTRES.
THE COMPLETED OBJECTION FORMS CAN BE SUBMITTED ONLINE ON THE WEBSITE.
THE COMPLETED OBJECTION FORMS MUST INCLUDE THE SECTION 49 NOTICE.