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2008-05-15: Avoid the rush appeals City of Joburg

JOHANNESBURG residents have less than a fortnight in which to lodge complaints in case they are unhappy with the new valuation of their property.

The cut-off date is 27 May and the new property rates will be payable from July 1 this year.

"There have been relatively few objections thus far", says Erika Naude, Director: Rates and Taxes. "Either residents are happy with their new valuation or they are just slow in responding. We want to appeal to all to ensure that if they have a complaint to lodge it as soon as possible to avoid the expected last-minute rush", she said.

From the responses received so far, it is clear that several issues keep on cropping up. Ms Naude explained that the following tips may help to solve some of the questions residents may have:
1. The market value of a property - on which the new rates will be based - is not just a combination of land value and improvement value as currently indicated on municipal statements. It is best to check the General Valuation Roll. By now all residents should have received a letter advising them of the market value. Residents can also check with the Customer Services Centres or go to the website.
2. There may be omissions on the valuation roll. In that case complaints have also to be lodged. In addition, the Valuations Department can also be contacted for help.
3. Residents can complain about anything in their entry on the valuation roll - be it the name of the owner, the valuation, address or category. But complaints against the valuation roll as such, are not possible.
4. Residents must make certain that their property falls in the right category as rates differ from category to category. Objections have to have supporting information.
5. A comment submitted last year, does not constitute a formal complaint. This has to be done on a prescribed form with a specifically allocated number.
6. The valuation roll is the basis for the new rates and these must be paid, even if an objection has not been resolved. Once the issue has been resolved, property owners will either be refunded or be expected to pay arrears.
7. In case residents have not received a formal letter or do not receive statements at present, they should contact the City authorities.
Ms Naude asked residents to urgently make certain that they are happy with the valuation of the properties. "Avoid the rush," she appealed.