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Rates nightmare

The implementation of the Municipal Property Rates Act, means that local authorities will have a huge task in valuing individual flats in order to calculate its individual rates levy. Valuations have to be done every four years and in the case of Cape Town more than 60 000 individual properties in some 2000 sectional title developments will have to be rated by 2006.

Apart from the mammoth logistics, the task will be complicated further by instances where one sectional title owner will own an apartment, while another owns a garage. Since this represents two separate titles, valuations will have to be done on each property and accounts will be sent to each.

Other problems include the issue of common property, the ownership of parking bays and absent property owners. The Act does allow for various mechanisms to allow local authorities to enforce payment such as a version of a garnishee order, or, if the local authority is unable to contact the sectional title owner, it might attach part of the rental income from a rental agent before the remainder of the rental money is sent to the owner.

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