Cathrine Gibson’s letter in the 23 July issue of The Village NEWS (Do zero property values equal zero municipal rates?) refers:

Whilst Ms Gibson has a very valid point in the situation that most Beach Club owners face, it raises another rates-related question regarding the 2nd SUPPLEMENTARY VALUATION 2018/19. Upon investigation it appears as if a number of property owners may be subject to unrealistic rates increases and are potentially not even aware of it. The onus is of course on the owner to be aware of the impact of valuations but many appear not to be, for multiple reasons.

In our personal capacity, we have just been subjected to a property valuation increase of 186.32% and after submission of a Valuation Objection were given a “NO CHANGE” decision, with the reasons being a) “House Incomplete as at 18/10/2018” (The house was only completed in April 2019 and the occupation certificate was only issued on 22 June 2019) and b) “During 2019 the completed house will be revalued”.

The vagueness as to when the completed house will be revalued and the fact that we will now anyway be paying rates on a value that is not a realistic property value is a concern that all property owners in Hermanus should be aware of. The new valuation was based on an empty stand even though we submitted two CMAs (Competitive Market Analysis) from local estate agents who confirmed the potential value of the land to be substantially below the new value that the municipality “assessed”.

It raises the question as to why we even bother to submit an objection when clearly the municipality ignores the real state of the property market and wants to justify a hike of grossly unrealistic proportions. I urge all property owners to be aware of this for themselves even though the window to object has been and gone.

One cannot help but wonder if this is a way to fob off ratepayers and generate more income for the municipality or if this is a Western Cape government plan. To quote the City of Cape Town Municipality in a similar situation: “Our valuers are working exclusively to resolve the more than 30 000 objections received during the GV2018 objection process. We envisage completing all objections received by December 2020 – and once resolved the decision will be backdated to 01.07.2019”. If that is the case throughout the province, then what chance does the property owner have to fight what is clearly an unjust process, of which the timelines are so extended and the only party to benefit by the additional cash flow is the government.

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