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The revelation of thousands of Joburg properties could bring the city up to R360 million a year extra in rates.
Although some property owners could face revised rates bills going back up to four years, based on values calculated before the property market crashed, less than 3 percent have filed objections.
In May, the City of Joburg issued a supplementary valuation roll which adjusts the values of 82 220 properties, substantially increasing the values of many, which will mean an increase in rates paid by property owners to the city.
“There is an estimated additional R30m in monthly revenue to the city,” said council spokesman Gabu Tugwana. This is if all the revaluations are approved.
By Thursday, the city had received 2 098 objections – less than 3 percent of the list.
The deadline for objections is July 25.
The municipality sent letters to those affected, and the roll is on the city’s website, although there have been problems accessing it.
The Star has received numerous complaints from readers saying their properties were revalued at massively higher values or reclassified to more expensive categories, and rates adjustments were being backdated.
The Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs emphasised the importance of timely objections.
“If you do not object to the value provided in the supplementary valuation roll, the municipality is legally bound to implement the supplementary valuation as you would have been afforded the opportunity and you decided not to object,” department spokeswoman Tsakani Baloyi said.
“By not objecting, it means you accept as correct the revised value of the property.
“Unless if another situation happens that may trigger the property to be revalued, the only time the property owner will have a chance to object is with regard to the next general valuation roll.”
Tugwana warned that the law says “the lodging of an objection does not defer liability for payment of rates beyond the date determined for payment”.
Baloyi said supplementary rolls were used to ensure all ratepayers were treated fairly, so some owners were not on a “rates holiday” while others paid more.
The supplementary valuation roll amends Joburg’s general valuation roll of 2008.
The Municipal Property Rates Act says supplementary rolls are for properties which were omitted, were subsequently subdivided or consolidated, for which the market value “substantially increased or decreased”, or which were “substantially incorrectly valued”. Tugwana said this included rezoned properties.
The supplementary roll takes effect from August 1.
The law is specific about what may be backdated. Properties wrongly omitted from the general roll; those “substantially incorrectly valued during the last general valuation”; or those “revalued for any other exceptional reason” may be billed only from the effective date of the supplementary roll, August 1.
Changes linked to a clear date may result in rates adjustments backdated to then.
These include properties subdivided or consolidated, and those for which “the market value has substantially increased or decreased for any reason”, which would include new buildings or demolitions.
Previous owners may have to pay up.
“Any changes backdated will be allocated to the respective owner from the effective date of the change effected on the supplementary roll. Thus it is possible that the backlog will be split between the current owner and the previous owner respectively,” said Tugwana.
How you can check…
The supplementary valuation roll and objection forms are on the website www.joburg.org.za – look for e-services, then valuations.
Rates charges are in the city’s 2012/13 budget on the website, and section 78 of the Municipal Property Rates Act covers supplementary valuations.