Free help in contesting incorrect valuations

Property owners in Johannesburg, Ethekwini and many other municipal areas only have a short time in which to lodge any objections to the new municipal valuations of their properties – and to the new municipal rates based on these valuations that they will be charged from July.

And to assist, the Chas Everitt International property group is offering free independent valuations to all owners who need supporting documentation for such objections.

“We believe it is really important for home owners to check any new General Valuation Rolls (GVRs) that are compiled by local authorities and file objections if they believe the valuation of their property to be wrong,” says group chief executive, Berry Everitt.

“If they don’t do this, they could end up paying far too much in municipal rates each month or even being forced out of their homes because the new rates are unaffordable.

“In addition, incorrect municipal valuations can really skew the real estate market by making it difficult to sell properties in certain areas and causing them to actually lose value.”

In Johannesburg, the new GVR is open for inspection and objections until April 6 (see www.joburg.org.za and https://coj2018.evaluations.co.za/eServices/).

The new GVR for Ethekwini is open for inspection and objections until March 31 and can be found at www.durban.gov.za, while the new GVR for the Kouga local authority can be found at http://www.kouga.gov.za/documentlibrary/2018-general-valuation and is open for objections until April 30.

The objection period in George (see http://www.george.gov.za/resource-category/financial-reports), closes on Friday this week (9 March).

“There is quite a lot of red tape to deal with and there are always sceptics who say that contesting a new valuation is more effort than it’s worth,” says Everitt. “But a relatively small investment of time could not only save an owner many thousands of rands over the next few years but also make the property more appealing to any future buyers.”

When a property valuation is wrong, he points out, the rates that the city council charges based on that valuation will also be wrong, “and that usually means that you will end up paying more than you should, every single month for at least the next four years, or until you sell the property.

“Secondly, property owners with plans to sell – including those who own commercial properties – need to be aware that an incorrect valuation could cost them a sale. Most prospective buyers these days want to know what municipal charges are applicable to the properties they view and are easily put off if these are too high.”

Everitt also notes that although the new property rates that will be based on the valuations contained in the new GVRs will not come into effect until July, it will be much too late then for property owners to object to the new valuations.

“The time to take action is now, so all property owners should check the GVRs as soon as possible and make sure the official valuation of their property is market-related.

“This means it should be close to what a willing buyer might currently be willing to pay for it. And if that is not the case, owners should immediately contact their nearest Chas Everitt International office for a free expert valuation that they can use to substantiate an objection. This will be compiled by a qualified and experienced estate agent who can provide a comparative market analysis (CMA) of similar homes in the area.”