Property Rates Amendment Bill
by Liesl Winter
The purpose of the new Property Rates Amendment Bill, it is said, is to simplify the property rating system, making it uniform and easier to implement. But there is much concern as to the way the Bill has been drafted and in particular to the definition of “residential property”.
“Residential property” is the home an owner lives in. Other properties owned by the same person are defined as commercial properties, and commercial rates will apply to them.
This means that holiday homes, investment properties and second properties will encounter a 226% increase in rates!
Responding to a storm of protest, Deputy Minister Yunus Carrim has said that the legislation is not aimed at second properties, but at small hotels, bed-and-breakfasts and guesthouses. He says the draft Bill will be amended to make the legislature’s intention clear.
We await with bated breath!
Take pride, Cape Town, in your Deeds Office
by Liesl Winter
Transferring the ownership of fixed property is a complex procedure. Several elements come into play. There is transfer duty. There are rates and levies. There are electrical, beetle and gas certificates… and … and… and...
All these need to be attended to prior to lodgement in the Deeds Office.
In Cape Town, where new procedures are in place both at SARS and within the Municipality, efficiency is definitely on the up.
One factor is the city’s online procedure for obtaining rates figures. You get your answer on the day you apply as against the previous norm of 2 weeks! Then you must just pay the outstandings and wait for the clearance certificate, normally less than two weeks. Not bad at all!
SARS, too, has implemented an online system for submitting documents and paying transfer duty. So far, this works well enough when there are no hassles in the paperwork. However, in situations where you have to cope with a problematic document you now cannot speak to a person at SARS, because everything is done electronically. We believe this opening hiccup is being rectified, and soon the new system will in every case improve turnaround time.
Once your documents are ready to lodge, control shifts to the examiners at the Deeds Office. Their examination is a detailed one with several examiners checking each and every batch of documents lodged. Currently the “on prep” time – the period from lodgement to when the examiners advise that all is in order -- is ten to twelve working days.
This is relatively quick. We hope that the efficiency we are currently experiencing continues into the future.