Compulsory acquisition and property resumption

Commonly asked questions about compulsory property acquisition

The government has a full-time team which specialises in taking away people’s homes and paying as little as possible. The staff at Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) have taken away a lot of properties and they do not have the property owner’s interests at heart. That’s why it’s important to have an expert on your side if you want to receive fair compensation for your property.

Anyone can afford to engage a top-notch lawyer because it’s effectively free. Fees for legal advice and expert assistance to a property owner under the acquisition process must be paid for by the government under a provision in the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act.

The reason for this is that the government has a lot of experience in compulsory land acquisition, whereas most land owners have never done it before. This is why the Act builds in protections for landowners, by paying their costs to obtain expert legal and valuation advice.

There are a number of claims which homeowners can make as part of the compensation package. The most substantial of these is obtaining a fair price for the property itself. Other claims include “solatium”, which recognises an emotional attachment to a home and “disturbance”, which recognises the cost of accommodating your needs (transport, disabled access, proximity to hospital or amenities), removalist costs, connection of phones and other services to the new home.

In addition, stamp duty and legal fees incurred in the purchase of a new home are fully claimable, as well as the refinancing fees for the mortgage.

Businesses facing compulsory acquisition of their premises can claim for certain costs. However, you need expert advice to get the best results.

Every business has different needs. Faced with compulsory acquisition, some can be relocated and some cannot. Those that cannot be relocated must be compensated for the total destruction of the business.

Relocation claims can include a vast range of expenses, including:

  • Cost of finding suitable new premises
  • Legal costs for the new lease and bank guarantees
  • Fitout of the new premises
  • Installation of any specialist equipment
  • Increased rent
  • Removalist fees
  • Setting up and testing new phone systems, data cabling and computer hubs to ensure a smooth transition with minimal business interruption
  • Advertising the new location
  • Printing new stationery
  • Cost of an organiser to manage logistics
  • Staff wages and overtime to help with the move

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