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What do you do if your land is Compulsorily Acquired?

Compulsory Acquisition: 22 March 2019


So, an authority wants to take your land by way of compulsory acquisition? What can you get?

In usual circumstances, you can't prevent a compulsory acquisition. However, in almost all cases, when an authority acquiring your interest gives you formal notice of its intention to undertake an acquisition, with the immediate assistance of an experienced lawyer and an independent valuer, you can be guided through a fair process.

Even if you don't have the money to fight a legal battle, under section 51 of the Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986, you can obtain an advance of compensation equal to the amount offered. The advance payment is without prejudice to your rights to pursue a claim for additional compensation.

Fortunately for land owners, you can be compensated fairly and the cost of obtaining advice usually can be recovered from the Acquiring Authority.

There are several heads of compensation which can lead to higher compensation for you, basically these include:

  • special value of the land;
  • severance of your land by the acquisition;
  • disturbance to your land or business; and
  • solatium for intangibles and the like.

The independent valuation may take into consideration such matters as:

  • reduced property value due to restrictions on the use of land within an easement;
  • reduced property value of remaining land within an affected land holding;
  • possible visual impact of an easement and infrastructure associated with an easement on any residential component of a property;
  • in the case of overhead/aboveground easements, the number of transmission lines and similar structures located on the easement or the number of above ground outlet valves (in the case of water pipelines);
  • the effect the easement might have on farming operations;
  • loss of vegetation;
  • Blot on title - this relates to the impact the notation of the Acquiring Authority's interest on your Title may have on any purchaser's considerations were the property to be offered for sale in the future.
  • Rental - an amount per week/month relating to the temporary use of land by the Acquiring Authority for placement of equipment or supplies during construction of the power line/pipe line etc.
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