Objection process means you don’t have to accept your new land valuation

By Daniel Lilley, Special Counsel at Hillhouse Legal Partners
| 3 min. read

Key takeaways

  • The new valuations involve approximately 825,000 properties in 21 Local Government Areas and are determined as at 1 October 2019.
  • Just because the Valuer-General sets a value on a piece of land, does not mean it is necessarily correct.
  • While the usual reason for objecting to a new valuation would be that it is too high, an objection can be lodged if the valuation remains unchanged and the owner believes it should have fallen.
  • Grounds of objection must be accompanied by supporting information, such as specific property sales evidence. Unsubstantiated, generalised or generic objections will not be accepted.

Each year the Valuer-General issues new land valuations for a number of Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Queensland.

These valuations are used for determining council rates, state land tax and state land rental (for leasehold land) but what a lot of people don’t realise is that they can object to them if they don’t agree with them.

Most recently, the Valuer-General has issued new land valuations for the following 21 LGAs:

Banana, Brisbane, Bundaberg, Burke, Cassowary Coast, Cloncurry, Flinders, Fraser Coast, Gold Coast, Goondiwindi, Hinchinbrook, Livingstone, Mackay, McKinlay, Mount Isa, Richmond, Rockhampton, Scenic Rim, Torres, Townsville and Winton.

The new valuations involve approximately 825,000 properties and are determined as at 1 October 2019.  In areas where new valuations have not been issued, the most recent valuation will remain effective until the next valuation is issued.

While the usual reason for objecting to a new valuation would be that it is too high, thereby increasing rates and land tax, an objection can be lodged if the valuation remains unchanged and the owner believes it should have fallen.

Just because the Valuer-General sets a value on a piece of land, it does not mean it is necessarily correct, as reliance on previous valuations will not have taken into account such things as market movements, planning and zoning changes and impact of natural events since the last annual valuation.

To object to an annual valuation, landowners must comply with the requirement of the LVA, which include:

  •  Having acceptable grounds of objection; and
  •  Supply of information in support of their grounds of objection.

 Acceptable grounds of objection include at least one of the following:

  •  Sales evidence that supports a different value;
  •  The physical or constraints on the use of the land support a different value;
  •  Deductions for site improvements; or
  •  Other issues which may affect valuation.

The grounds of objection must be accompanied by supporting information, such as specific property sales evidence.  Unsubstantiated, generalised or generic objections will not be accepted as grounds for objection.

The Valuer-General recently introduced a computer program which is supposed to achieve relativity among similar types of property for valuation purposes.

The general consensus among valuers is that rather than create parity in valuations of similar properties, some significant anomalies are occurring and the Valuer General is issuing annual valuations based on those anomalies.

Residents of Townsville, for example, should carefully consider the impact of the recent floods on the new valuations. Rural areas generally should also consider what effect recent natural disasters have had on the valuations of properties.

Neil Murphy of Savills has made the following observation in respect to the 2020 valuations: 

  • The Valuer-General has significantly reduced values for some CBD and CBD fringe properties after their owners appealed, so if you have not reviewed your value since 2014 you definitely need to.
  • The Property Council of Australia advised that the Valuer-General was so concerned with the levels of value in the CBD he commissioned an independent report. This report has only recently been completed and the implementation of any recommendations did not happen before the issuing of this latest round of valuations.
  • If you own an industrial property, a review of your annual valuation should be considered.
  • The objection period for the 2020 valuations closes on 5 May 2020. If properly made objections are not lodged by that time, landowners will lose their opportunity to object.

 Hillhouse Legal Partners has considerable experience in:

  •  Completing properly made objections, working in conjunction with your valuer; and
  •  Undertaking appeals against decisions by the Valuer-General on objections made to annual valuations.

If we can assist you in this regard, please contact Daniel Lilley on 3220 1144 or email [email protected].

The information in this blog is intended only to provide a general overview and has not been prepared with a view to any particular situation or set of circumstances. It is not intended to be comprehensive nor does it constitute legal advice. While we attempt to ensure the information is current and accurate we do not guarantee its currency and accuracy. You should seek legal or other professional advice before acting or relying on any of the information in this blog as it may not be appropriate for your individual circumstances.