A property owner has a right to appeal the decision of a Municipal Valuer. Section 54 of the Municipal Rates Act 6 of 2004 (MPRA) states that: “An appeal to an appeal board against a decision of a municipal valuer in terms of section 51 may be lodged in the prescribed manner with the municipal manager concerned.” This recourse affords the property owner a platform to put forward their dispute to the outcome of their objection.
Who may appeal to the decision of the Municipal valuer?
In terms of section 54(1) the following persons may lodge an appeal:
- A person who has lodged an objection in terms of section 50 (1) (c) and who is not satisfied with the decision of the municipal valuer;
- An owner of a property who is affected by such a decision, if the objector was not the owner; or
- The council of the municipality concerned, if the municipality’s interests are affected.
How is an Appeal board formed?
According to section 56(1), the MEC appoints an Appeal Board for each prospective Municipality that may have appeals to address in terms of section 56(1). The MEC for local government must, by notice in the provincial Gazette, establish as many valuation appeal boards in the province as may be necessary, but not fewer than one in each district municipality and each metropolitan municipality.
When must an appeal be lodged?
The prospective appellant must pay attention to the time frames attached to appealing a Municipal valuer’s outcome.
According to section 54(2) of the MPRA, an appeal by an objector or owner of such property must be lodged within 30 days after the date on which the written notice referred to in section 53(1) was sent to the objector or property owner or, if the objector has requested reasons in terms of section 53(2), within 21 days after the day 40 on which the reasons were sent to the objector or property owner.
An appeal by the municipal council must be lodged within 30 days after the date on which the decision was taken.
How is the appeal assessed?
The municipal manager must forward all appeals submitted to the chairperson of the Appeal Board within 14 days after the abovementioned applicable period of lodging an appeal mentioned in section 54(2) of the MPRA. According to section 54(3)(b)), the chairperson of an appeal board must, for purposes of considering any appeals, convene a meeting of the appeal board within 60 days after an appeal has been forwarded to the chairperson.
Does an appeal defer the payment of rates to the local authority?
In terms of section 54(4), an appeal lodged in terms of this section 54 does not defer a person’s liability for pay rates beyond the date determined for payment.
It is vital for property owners to be well-versed in the recourse available to them when they are unhappy with decisions of the Municipal valuer. Most importantly, each property owner must pay attention to the time frames set in terms of appealing such decisions. Ultimately, keep informed and, when uncertain, speak to the local authority.