Municipal Valuations

Attention current property buyers or sellers:
The practice of some municipalities, including Cape Town’s, of holding buyers of a property liable for the seller’s debt to the municipality, such as outstanding rates, electricity or water charges, has been declared unconstitutional by Gauteng’s High Court. This follows a previous judgement that made it possible for municipalities to recover a seller's unpaid services or rates from the new owners - and this as far back as 30 years’ worth of arrears! 

And municipalities do not have the right to withhold water, electricity or other municipal services from the new owners to force them to pay for the seller’s outstanding municipal accounts. So buyers can be free of being held responsible for the unpaid bills of others. Municipalities will have to use normal legal processes to recover debts from the seller.

Municipalities presumably may still withhold a rates clearance certificate from the seller if they are unpaid municipal accounts, which prevents transfer of a sold property to the new owners. This, too, may need to be challenged in court as many municipalities have been taking liberties with residents’ constitutional rights over the years. One question remains: what happens when the seller disputes an account or a revised property municipal valuation and the City drags its feet in resolving the matter? Should the seller be held hostage to the City’s slow processes (resolving a property valuation objection takes typically some 18 months).

November 2016

City's property valuation system 'deeply flawed'

CAPE TIMES / 25 August 2016, 11:01pm

Carlo Petersen

THE City’s property valuation system has been questioned after homeowners from all over the metro raised concerns about the value of their homes and tariffs increasing. Homeowners have inundated the Greater Cape Town Civic Alliance (GCTCA), an umbrella body which oversees residents’ associations in Cape Town, with complaints about the value of their properties increasing, according to GCTCA chairperson Philip Bam.

 Bam yesterday deemed the City’s property valuation system as “deeply flawed”. “We have met with various residents’ associations from all over Cape Town and the feedback we are getting is that homeowners, more particularly the middle class, are upset because the City has increased the value of their homes, thereby increasing their tariffs and taxes,” Bam said. He said the middle class in the city were now suffering as they “simply cannot afford” to pay tariffs. “We have a situation now where not only the poor are affected, but the middle class as well. Everybody is faced with this problem and we are aware that the valuation system the City is using is deeply flawed,” he said. Bam said the City’s valuation system is based on a Canadian model and not viable for Cape Town. 

Hout Bay Residents and Ratepayers' Association (HBRRA) chairperson Len Swimmer, who is also on the GCTA executive committee, echoed Bam’s sentiments.“The City’s system is flawed and iniquitous. They are taxing people with rates they cannot afford and it’s affecting the middle class, and most especially pensioners who do not qualify for tax and tariff rebates. “It might be working in Canada, but it most certainly is not working in Cape Town,” Swimmer said.

St James resident Michael Rossi said the value of his property in the area recently increased from R3 million to R6m. Rossi insists his house is not worth R6m and he has approached the City to appeal its valuation. He said the City has not been forthcoming in their approach to deal with the matter. “I appealed the valuation, but the City’s property valuation officers’ attitudes stink. “Initially they said they would come out to inspect the property, so that they could see for themselves there is no way my house can be valued so high, but then I was told I need to provide them with comparable evidence of sales of properties in the area to substantiate my proposed value.” Rossi said it was difficult to make a comparison because no two properties are the same. He said that he had been in contact with the City’s property valuer for the area, Jerry Iwegbuna, and the City’s valuation operations manager, Emil Weichardt, earlier this month to query the matter.

An e-mail from Iwegbuna to Rossi on August 11 reads: 
“I would like to inform you that the Property Rates Act compels us to determine market value, and that is the bases by which all properties are valued. “The onus is on you to provide comparable evidence of sales of properties in your area to substantiate your proposed value, as I could not see any comparable motivation with your objection.” “I feel like the City is robbing me because I cannot afford to pay the high tariffs that come with the new price of my property,” Rossi added.

Deputy mayor Ian Neilson said the City’s property valuations was based on the market value. “The processes followed by the City comply with the Municipal Property Rates Act. The City’s latest general valuation shows that the total valuation of all rateable (sic) properties in the metro has increased from R911 billion in 2012 to R1 156bn in 2015, which is an important reason for the decrease in the rate in the rand or the rates portion of a municipal bill by about 
7 percent.”

At the bottom of this page are 3 PDF documents you can click on to read and/or Download. They are the  General Valuation 2015 details supplied by the City.
These are also accessible on the City's Website which you can access from the link at the bottom of this page above the City logo. On the City Website Home page, click on Property Valuations, OR use this hyperlink to go straight there:
and also check for the Supplementary valuation although owners affected should have received notification from the City:

Alternatively you will be able to look at the printed version of the Valuation Roll at the Civic Centre, where you will be helped if you do not understand the process.
Check the revised municipal valuation for your home as per the released GV2015 which you should have received  by post, but if not look it up on the City’s website. Deadline for objections was the 29th April 2016
CIBRA recommend you first read the documents in the Municipal valuation and Rates folder underneath this,  starting with  'Your Properties Municipal Valuation'

Municipal valuation and Rates documents

General Valuation 2006

General Valuation 2009

General Valuation 2015