If you are a homeowner, or a farmer, the land on which you live should feel stable and secure. You’ve laid your foundations in the earth, and you are not going anywhere. The sense of stability that we get from owning our own property can be reassuring. After all, one of the most basic human needs is for shelter and security.
But if you are forced from your land, this can be massively distressing and significant disruption in the life of you and your family. And, worse still, if your livelihood depends on the land, you will feel as though you are left with nothing.
You might feel as though there is a great injustice at hand, and that you need to hold a sitting protest and refuse to leave. The best course of action will be to get as much advice as possible and make considered actions.
What Is A Compulsory Acquisition Order?
Compulsory acquisition occurs when the government or an authorized acquiring authority purchase your land from you without your willing consent. This might be done to complete an infrastructure project such as a building, or widening a road, laying down a new train line, sewerage works, reservoirs or parks. The land will need to be used for some kind of justifiable social, environmental, or economic advancement.
Notice Of Intention To Acquire
The first stage in the process of compulsory acquisition will be receiving a letter from the acquisition authority outlining the reason for the purchase, and the intended date. Once you’ve received this information, you cannot sell or rent out your property. The acquisition authority then has six months to acquire the land, and if they don’t get it within the time, then the notice will elapse.
If the acquisition does not go ahead, then you may be able to claim against the authorities for any loss that you may have suffered as a result of being served your notice.
If however, the acquisition does go ahead, you will get an offer of compensation. This offer will be for the current market value of the property, plus extra if there is some kind of benefit of the location to you. On top of this, you will get all the costs relating to legal fees and moving to a new property.
You may also be awarded extra compensation taking into account how long you have had the property, your age, and if the circumstances of others living with you.
Making A Counter Offer
If you want to challenge the compensation amount, you can do. To do this, you will need to submit a notice of claim. Get legal support in the event of trying to place a counteroffer on the acquisition, and an experienced lawyer will be able to advise you on your chances of success.
What Is The Best Course Of Action
The moment that you receive your notice, you should seek advice. The earlier that you do this, the better. There may be some opportunity to challenge or negotiate your position and get more money.
As your legal fees are covered as a part of your compensation package, you have nothing to lose by hiring the right legal expert.
In some very rare cases, an acquisition order can be overturned in a tribunal. Events like this are few and far between, and often the best course of action is to negotiate a better rate of compensation. Where an attempt is made to overturn a decision, an objection needs to be raised as early as possible.
Get an independent valuation on your property, so that you know what the minimum you should expect to receive should be. Gather up as much information about your property as possible so that you can provide evidence for any claims if needed.
Keep a paper trail of all correspondence and every receipt from every expense relating to the case.
Avoiding Acquisition Orders When Buying
If you are concerned about buying a property that might one day fall under a compulsory acquisition order, you can check to see if it is on a watch list. Before any acquisition orders are in place; developers may need to reserve the land.
The emotional distress of losing your property can be hard to deal with. From the moment that you receive any communication about the acquisition of your land, seek out the advice of a professional who specializes in land rights. Moving to a new home might not be the ideal solution, but with the right support and consideration, it can be made more bearable.