The impact of municipal valuations
Municipal valuations, done by authorized individuals on behalf of the relevant local municipality, will be a determining factor in the calculation of monthly property rates to be paid by homeowners. It goes without saying that valuations have to be adjusted from time to time in order to reflect realistic values and therefore, if a property’s value is assessed to have increased, the monthly property rates payable will most likely increase proportionately.
The valuation process
Each municipality maintains a valuation roll, a list that includes all properties within its jurisdiction and its current value – for example, the Johannesburg Metro currently has 879 005 properties on its valuation roll. According to legislation the valuation rolls should be updated annually through property valuations so that the roll reflects a market-related value for each property although the said legislation also makes provision for extended periods.
Municipal valuations and the underlying valuation process may differ slightly from council to council. It is therefore necessary to find out the details from the specific council in whose jurisdiction the property falls Properties are valued in accordance with generally recognized valuation practices, methods and standards and the provisions of the Municipal Property Rates Act, 6 of 2004 (MPRA). Although physical inspections are conducted in some cases, this is at the discretion of the relevant council as this is not a specific requirement of the MPRA. However, should a physical inspection be undertaken, it must be conducted by an authorized official who is required to produce an ID card on demand.
Again, the process may vary slightly from municipality to municipality. The council will publish their dispute resolution procedures, which will, in broad terms, be based on the MPRA. Property owners should view the full valuation services including dispute processes for the relevant municipality, e.g. City of Johannesburg.
Any party wishing to dispute a municipal valuation can approach the relevant municipality directly (metro municipalities will have a dedicated department that will assist in dealing with such disputes), within the prescribed timeframe to make an objection to the valuation roll. A dispute fee will be charged for the process, and such disputes may also entail further third-party valuations which can be costly.
Written by Wessel de Kock