The City of Cape Town’s latest valuations will be released next week, and property owners will have until 30 April 2013 to contest discrepancies.
Some argue that the general municipal valuation process, which takes into account the size of a neighbourhood or area, the general features of properties and their value, cannot be entirely accurate as properties are not inspected individually and calculations are made on a mass scale.
“Because visiting each and every property in the Cape Town and surrounds would be impossible, municipal evaluations are calculated on a mass scale with the help of a computer,” explains Brendan Miller, CEO of Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty Atlantic Seaboard. “As no two properties are exactly the same, it stands to reason that evaluations done on a mass scale can go wrong.”
“You have to follow an official process to object to the municipality’s valuation of your property, however, which is not necessarily straightforward. Lew Geffen Sotheby’s International Realty is launching an initiative to help homeowners across Cape Town to value their properties at no cost if they are in doubt about the city’s valuation as well guide them through the objections process if need be.”
On 21 February the City will make a document called the “final value roll” available for inspection. This document will list every valuation done by the municipality and can be viewed online or at objections centres which will be listed on the city’s website. Homeowners have until 30 April to object if they feel their valuation is unfair.
In 2007 the city made an admission that it had miscalculated the value of 70 000 sectional title units. The units were overvalued by up to 200% more than their market value, meaning sectional title owners would have faced disproportionate increases in rates when the municipality implemented its new billing system following the evaluation.
Many homeowners are still wary of the property valuation process in the wake of this. While he doesn’t believe the average homeowner needs to be concerned about major miscalculations in valuations, Miller does point out that it’s every ratepayer’s right to ensure that their home is valued fairly and at market value and that information about how to do this should be made easily available.