Concerned over commercial property valuation? Here are steps to follow …

2014-04-23 00:00

WITH the new property valuation roll currently open for inspections, businesses in the city have expressed concern over the exorbitant increase in the valuation of commercial properties.

Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business chief executive officer (CEO) Melanie Veness said she had been approached by a number of concerned businesses. Veness added that she was worried about the fact that businesses are only now receiving written notification of their valuations, and that many business owners were away on holiday, and may not return in time to object. Veness said she had written to Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi requesting that consideration be given to extending the deadline for objections.

“Putting together an objection is also timeconsuming, because the objection needs to be based on comparable sales, market-related rental income and owners will, no doubt, want to compare the valuations of similar comparable premises in their areas,” she said.

Veness also noted that the printed valuation roll lists owners’ surnames in alphabetical order, and said it was difficult to access comparative figures according to streets.

However, Msunduzi spokesperson Madeleine Jackson-Plaatjies had earlier told The Witness that the electronic version of the roll, which was on the municipal website, could be searched on any field.

Veness advised those concerned about their property valuation to follow the steps listed below:

• An objection form can be downloaded from the Msunduzi website (www.msunduzi.gov.za). The form needs to be completed, signed and submitted by the property owner and must relate to a specific individual property;

• The original form must be completed in full and submitted by 4 pm on April 29. Incomplete forms will not be processed, so please get assistance from the relevant municipal staff if you are unsure about anything on the form;

• The objector must provide a motivation for the objection (based on comparable data) and must contend a valuation figure that he/she believes is more accurate;

• Any alterations must be signed;

• A stamped acknowledgement of receipt should be obtained from the municipality when the completed form is submitted, as proof of submission.

Once an objection is received by the munici­pality, it is referred to the municipal valuator, who will consider the objection and respond to the property owner within a reasonable time. The valuation may be adjusted; alternatively reasons should be provided as to why the valuation cannot be adjusted. If you are unhappy with the decision, an appeal may be submitted to the Valuation Appeals Board, which is a tribunal appointed by the provincial government.

Veness added that the property valuations are what ultimately determine rates liability.

“Obviously a significant increase in property value as well as a percentage increase in the rate randage (even if it is CPI-related) will result in a significantly higher liability. The Chamber has withheld comment on the proposed rates increase until such time as we are able to determine what effect the re-valuations will have,” she said. Veness appealed to the local business community to let her know their thoughts on the matter so that she can accurately represent them.

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