Property value shock

Buffalo City Metro residents are fuming at the city’s new property valuations, many of which show increases of up to 50%.

Residents were alerted to the fact that the municipal valuations had been carried out when they received notification of the prices in the post.

Silvia Kessler of Stirling got the shock of her life on Tuesday last week when she received a letter notifying her that her property value had gone up by 50%.

“My house has gone up by R1-million. I have lived here for more than 20 years and this is the first time I’ve had an objection .”

She plans to approach an independent estate agent to help her with her objection.

“It is unfair to just put it up by 50%. That is quite hectic. If it was up by 10 or 20% it would have been better and we could live with that and no one would object. This has to be fair and reasonable,” she said.

Another Stirling resident, who did not want to be named, said his house has gone up by the same percentage.

“My house has been put up by 50%. These property evaluations have not been done properly. They should have discussed this with us before increasing the value. So I am putting in an objection to see where this is coming from.”

Estate agent and Beacon Bay Ratepayers Association secretary Valerie Knoetze said a number of properties in the suburb had gone up by 48%.

“It is ludicrous, even though there has not been an increase in more than four years. The main objection is that no one actually came to the houses to check. They may have been outside and just done a quick check.”

BCM spokesman Samkelo Ngwenya said where physical inspections were not carried out, building plans, as well as updated aerial photography from last year, was used in conjunction with computer-assisted mass appraisal (Cama) systems.

“Physical inspection of the property is optional and comparative because analytical and other systems or techniques may be used. This can include aerial photography and Cama systems or techniques, taking into account changes in technology and valuation systems and techniques.”

Knoetze explained the evaluations of property would lead to an increase in rates, and that the average household would not be able to cope with the new financial burden which could force many people to sell their properties.

“The municipality should be more involved with ratepayer meetings to hear what the public is saying and to have an open channel of communication.”

A ratepayer’s meeting is scheduled to take place at the Gonubie Bowling Club tomorrow.

According to Knoetze, Gonubie property has an average value of R880000 and Mzamomhle of R65000. She said the municipality had over-estimated in the suburb.

“One man has had his property go up by R493000, and another by R406000 and one even by R660000. Upping the price by 20-40% will have a huge impact on property values and whether people can afford to buy or not.”

She said the current municipal value of her own property was R1357000, on which her rate bill had been R1205.47. With the proposed increase of 37%, the new property value would be R1860000..

Ngwenya said: “Property values were determined from July 1 last year using a comparative sales approach. Residential property values are based on applicable sales registered at the deeds office.”

He said all objections submitted within the stipulated time-frame would be considered and the objectors notified in writing of the outcome of their objection.

“Please note that in terms of section (50) 6 of the Municipal Property Rates Act 6 of 2004 (MPRA) as amended, lodging an objection does not defer liability for payment of rates beyond the date determined for payment.”

Buffalo City Ratepayers Forum Christo Theart said the municipality needed to educate residents about property valuations.

“They should provide insight into the process of these valuations, and how they determine the current market value of properties. I don’t see anything on their website except that you can view your property and the fact that valuations are done in terms of legislation.

“Their website and the information contained on the website is extremely poor and we have complained about this in the past.”

The objection period for general valuations started on February 26 and closes on April 26.

Objections can be lodged in East London at the Old Mutual Building in Oxford Street, Kidds Beach Community Hall, Gonubie municipal office, Mdantsane Zone 11rent office; the Mdantsane Zone 17 rent office, and in King William’s Town at the Civic Centre in Ayliff Street and the Dimbaza rent office.

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