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Compulsory purchase

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This is when the government, local council or utility company has the legal right to buy or take rights over your private property if it falls within a public or private construction project such as: Airport expansions Housing developments Electricity pylons and cables Flood defence works Sewer, water or gas pipe schemes Rail or road building projects   Different compulsory purchase or statutory powers are needed to implement the above schemes. For example, water pipes are laid under statutory rights under the Water Industry Act 1991 and a road bypass will have its own compulsory purchase order through the Acquisition of Land Act 1981. In all cases, the owners and occupiers of the properties to be acquired or affected by the scheme will be served Notices, with differing expiry times. All the schemes provide compensation to owners and occupiers directly affected by the scheme.

What to do if you are served with a Notice

If you get a request from an authority to survey your land, ask for details of the scheme it may only be an option. Call the RICS helpline for advice from a chartered surveyor.  Its up to you to tell the authority how their scheme will affect you. For example, how will it affect the enjoyment of your property? Can you still access the other end of the garden? How much did you spend on the new drive? Ask for accommodation works. These can help limit the effects of schemes on your property. For example, an underpass to access severed land or adding extra trees to lessen traffic noise. Above all, act as soon as possible.

What compensation is available and how do I claim it?

Compensation is paid to reflect the losses and disturbance caused by a compulsory purchase or statutory scheme on an owner or occupiers property. Compensation is based on the owner or occupier being returned to a position no worse or better off, than if the scheme had not happened. The losses must be unavoidable and directly as a result of the scheme. Compensation may either be a range of payments or accommodation works (works to lessen the effect of the scheme or both). Its up to the claimant to prove any losses to claim for compensation. In the majority of cases, the acquiring authority may offer an advance payment of compensation depending on the rights or the land taken. People whose property suffers a loss in value due to the operation of a nearby scheme, may also be able to claim compensation.