Cape Town - A Grassy Park property owner says the City of Cape Town is guilty of “unfair business practices” for the way property valuation and rates are calculated.
Koetbudien Loghday has written to mayor Patricia de Lille and several senior council officials about his concerns, including a 200 to 300 percent rise in the value of his property after the 2012 valuation.
The value of his basic house was R900 000 on the open market. It was previously valued by the city at R1 175 000 but in the latest valuation, this trebled to R3 126 516.
“I have complained, submitted the objections within the relevant times and on the correct forms. All I receive as response is the City of Cape Town’s automated response.”
Meanwhile, he was expected to make payments on the “inflated” amounts or risk legal action.
Loghday, who owns several properties, said that under the city’s rates formula, two properties of the same size, age and design in the same area should have similar values. But he had found that “some people enjoy the benefits of low valuations while others have to pay inflated amounts. Is there something going on here that shouldn’t be?”
Ian Nielson, mayoral committee member for finance, said that if there were errors in the city’s valuations they were “unintentional” and properties that were incorrectly assessed would be revalued in supplementary valuations.
The city was bound by national legislation to value properties at market value, defined as the amount the property would have been sold for on the day of the valuation on the open market.”Because the city arrives at rateable values based on actual property sales, the value should be very close to what it would fetch if it were sold.”
Valuation also relied on detailed information about the city’s 800 000 rateable properties and a sophisticated computerised system.
“Because of the volumes that we are dealing with, errors do occur and it is for this reason that the legislation provides for a public inspection and objection period.”
But Loghday said a prime property on Victoria Road in Grassy Park was valued by the council at R2 million while the vacant land across the road, which was a “fraction of the size” was sold for R4m. His calculations of the difference between actual valuations and current valuations of several properties showed that some were getting a benefit of at least R35 000 a month.
Neilson said Loghday’s objections had been recorded on the valuations system and one had already been resolved. “Over 33 000 objections were received and it will take some time to address all of these.”
He acknowledged that some of the vacant erven in Grassy Park did appear to have been undervalued.