An aerial view of Cape Town's Atlantic seaboard including Sea Point, Lion's Head, Signal Hill and Table Mountain. Picture: Henk Kruger/ANA/African News Agency

Cape Town - Atlantic Seaboard residents are alarmed at their recent property valuations by the DA-controlled City of Cape Town. Residents are facing an up to 34% hike in rates, which is above the average valuation for the entire city of Cape Town. 

“The Sea Point, Fresnaye and Bantry Bay Ratepayers’ Association (SFB) attended a meeting hosted by deputy mayor Ian Nielson and ward councillor Nicola Jowell this week to voice the concerns of property owners in our area and obtain a better understanding of the process,” the association said.

“The SFB strongly urges citizens who believe their valuation is incorrect to object before April 30 to ensure a healthy and fair real estate ecosystem is maintained,” it said.

Property experts have also expressed their concerns. “In previous years when the City did their property valuations they undervalued some property; now we are seeing the complete opposite. The valuation is completely out of sync with the market,” said Jawitz properties chief executive Herschel Jawitz. 

He said residents were viewing this as a means by the City to rake in more revenue.

“This will really hit homeowners hard because what we have seen is a slowdown in property growth and generally it’s a massive blow for consumers,” Jawitz added. 

He also urged residents to object to their property valuations. “They must object and I don’t think the City council will be unreasonable,” he said.

Last month, the City’s 2018 general valuation roll was opened for public inspection. Homeowners have until April 30 to object to the valuation online, and had until March 29 to object in person at one of the 32 venues across the city.  

The City council has so far received thousands of objections to their property valuation increases of more than a third on average but in some cases as high as 100%.

There is also expectations that more objections will flow in faster as the end of month deadline approaches.

Ross Levin, from Seeff Estate Agency for the Atlantic Seaboard, said: “The timing of this is very unfortunate because homeowners are already struggling. What we have seen is a significant growth but I don’t think that they can look at that, it’s more of how they (the City) calculate the property value.”

“There’s a growing fear around homeowners who have to bear the brunt of paying more in a struggling economy. It’s become extremely expensive to be a property owner,” Levin said.

Mayco member for finance Ian Neilson said: “First, the increase in property value does not equal the increase in rates payable. Second, the City has proposed a reduction of more than 22% in rates. 

“Third, it is proposed that no rates are payable for residential properties on the first R300 000 (currently R200 000). Last, if residents qualify for assistance, the City helps by giving rates rebates and tariff relief.” 

He said it was a requirement of national legislation that properties were valued at market value.

@MarvinCharles17

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Cape Argus