The Department of Valuation and Real Estate Management is charged with the responsibility of managing Council’s real estate, initiating property development and investment and providing valuation services. It comprises three sections, namely;
- Valuation Section
- Real Estate Management Section and
- Property Development Section.
These sections are supported by the Administration Section for Departmental co-ordination.
1.1 Valuation Section
The Section is charged with the responsibility of ensuring efficient and timely preparation of the Main and Supplementary Valuation Rolls as well as attending to associated queries and provision of general valuation services to the Lusaka City Council and the general public. The valuation rolls are prepared for the purpose of levying property rates on all rateable properties within the City of Lusaka in accordance with the provisions of the Rating Act, No. 21 of 2018 of the Laws of Zambia. As an oversight responsibility, the section works closely with Finance Department in resource identification and mobilization.
The functions of the Valuation Section include;
- Facilitation of the preparation of the Main and Supplementary Valuation Rolls.
- Attending to post valuation enquiries and rates administration; and
- Preparation of valuation reports for various purposes to the Lusaka City Council and the general public.
1. What is Property Rates?
Property rates is a tax on rateable property levied by the local authorities (Councils) in their respective jurisdictions.
2. Which properties are liable for property rates?
According to Section 7 (1) of the Rating Act No. 21 of 2018, the following land, property and machinery are rateable:
- subject to section 19 (6) and (7), property whether or not reserved for government use, which is numbered and designated in accordance with the Land Survey Act;
- agricultural land and buildings which are not primarily used for agricultural purposes;
- mining, industrial and commercial plant and machinery by whatsoever description whether surface or underground which is fixed to land or buildings; and
- plant and machinery specifically used for the generation, transmission and distribution of electric power, including land and buildings.
3. Are property rates charged on properties which are bare land or under construction?
Yes, property rates are charged on properties which are bare land and those undergoing still under construction.
4. What is the Valuation Roll?
A Valuation Roll is a legal document that consists of property information of all rateable properties within the jurisdiction of a local authority. Lusaka City Council has 77,000 properties on the current valuation roll which are liable for property rates.
5. When are property rates due?
Property rates are charged every six months and fall due on 1st January and 1st July of each year.
6. How are property rates calculated?
Property rates is a ngwee amount in the Kwacha levied on the rateable value of a property and is calculated as follows:
Property rates (Charge per six Months) = Rateable Value of Property x levy
7. What are the current applicable rate levies?
- Residential 0.1 ngwee in a Kwacha per annum
- Commercial 0.2 ngwee in a Kwacha per annum
- Industrial 0.2 ngwee in a Kwacha per annum
- Institutional 0.2 ngwee in a Kwacha per annum
8. What law governs property rates?
The Rating Act No. 21 of 2018 of the Laws of Zambia.
9. Is there a difference between Property Rates and Ground Rent?
Yes, there is. Property rates is a tax on property which is levied by the local authorities whilst Ground Rent is rent charged on land for properties under statutory leasehold tenure by the Ministry of Lands. A property owner is required to pay both Property Rates and Ground Rent on their property.
10. Which properties are exempted from paying property rates?
According to Section 7 (2) of the said Act, the following property within a rateable area is not rateable:
- property in the occupation of the President in the President’s capacity as head of State;
(b) property used wholly for the operation of a public utility undertaking concerned with the storage, processing or distribution of public water supplies, or the collection, treatment or disposal of waterborne sewerage;
(c) property owned and used for worship by a registered religious organisation, including property owned by the religious organisation and used as a residence by a certified minister of that religious organisation whether within or outside the same cartilage as the place of worship, except that property owned by a religious organisation and used for social and commercial purposes in connection with the place of worship is rateable;
(d) public libraries and public museums;
(e) public cemeteries and public crematoria;
(f) military facilities, installations, gallery range, barracks military training institutions, military aerodromes, including the buildings on those facilities, installations, institutions or aerodromes and their cartilage;
(g) any public railway track, including rails and sleepers, together with all earthwork, ballast, fittings, fastenings and devices installed in connection with track or train operation, bridges, culverts, inspection and ash pits, signals and signal installations, centralised train control gear, rolling stock, weigh bridges, locomotive and train watering installation, cooling and fueling plants, passenger transmission lines, poles, pylons, transformers and switchgear used in connection with track and train operations within or outside buildings, if they are used for normal working of the railway;
(h) premises of a mission, which are owned by a mission and are the—
(i) residence of the head of foreign mission; or
(ii) chancery of that mission or other body granted diplomatic immunities and privileges that are set out in the First Schedule to the Diplomatic Immunities and Privileges Act, except that the premises other than those specifically mentioned in this paragraph which are owned and occupied by a mission in Zambia shall only be exempt if similar premises owned and occupied by a Zambian mission in that country are exempt from rates in that country;
(i) agricultural land and buildings which are primarily used for agriculture including dwelling houses situated thereon;
(j) public premises which are used for sport or recreational facilities, race course parks and pleasure gardens; or
(k) other property that the Minister may prescribe.
11. Does Lusaka City Council own property?
Yes it does. Council property portfolio include shops, bars, offices, houses, restaurants, community halls, banking halls, play parks, kiosks, markets, bus stations, car parks, stadia, cemeteries among others. Some of these properties have been let out to the general public.
1.2 Real Estate Management Section
The section is charged with the responsibility of managing Council’s property portfolio to ensure that they are managed professionally and efficiently using the best current estate management principles so as to enhance their value to the Council.
The functions of the Real Estate Management Section include:
- Allocation of premises for rent;
- Lease administration;
- Rental revisions;
- Performance tracking of the property portfolio;
- Maintenance of an Asset Register;
- Facilitating property maintenance;
- Facilitation of processing of titles for Council properties; and
- Administering property sales and acquisitions.
- Property Development Section
The Section is charged with the responsibility of initiating and promoting property development and investments for Lusaka City Council and ensuring that underutilized parcels of land are re-developed so as to put them to the Highest and Best Use in order to keep up with modern trends and obtain the best yield from property investment.
The functions of the Property Development Section include:
- Identification of land/property for development/redevelopment;
- Facilitation of the undertaking of feasibility studies for property developments;
- Facilitation of the implementation of infrastructure projects through the Public Private Partnership (PPP) concept; and
- Initiating property development and investment.
2.0 Revenue Streams
The Department is directly linked to the following revenue streams of the Lusaka City Council:
- Property rates,
- Rentals from Council properties; and
- Revenue realized from the disposal of Council assets.
The Department achieved the following milestones;
- Recently facilitated the preparation of the following Valuation Rolls;
- Main Valuation Roll of 2013 was prepared with about 63,400 properties captured with billing of new rates effected on 1st January 2016.
- Supplementary Valuation Roll No. 1 of 2013 saw 13,600 properties captured in 2018 which has resulted in an increase in the total number of properties captured to 77,000 properties in the current valuation roll.
- Initiated the preparation of feasibility studies on some Council properties/sites for purposes of redevelopment namely; Luburma Market, Kabwata Market, Chifundo Market, Buseko Market, North Forest Market, Lusaka City Library and the Nationalist Stadium.
4.0 Plans for 2019 and Beyond
In line with the Strategic Plan of 2017 to 2021, the Department is working on the following projects for 2019:
- Facilitate the preparation of the Main Valuation Roll of 2018 for the purpose of updating property rates which will commence from 2019 to 2020.
- Complete feasibility studies and commence the redevelopment of the identified sites to modernize the properties and add on to Council’s property portfolio.
The Department is committed to ensuring that council properties are professionally managed, new property developments are initiated and valuation services are provided efficiently and effectively.