Property Expropriated in Ontario? Protect Your Rights

The abundance of road, infrastructure and transit work ongoing in Ontario has created the need for the governmental authorities to purchase the property from private property owners in order to accommodate such construction. Light Rail Transit (LRT) projects are being built across Toronto, Hamilton, Mississauga and other cities across Ontario. Expropriations are taking place all across York Region in Newmarket, Aurora and the surrounding. Click through on each link for information around the expropriations taking place in your area.

In some cases, the property purchased is only for a temporary time period to accommodate construction work, and other times the purchase is permanent. The amount of land or property taken may be a sliver of land referred to a partial expropriation, or also known as the purchase of an easement (which can be a temporary easement or permanent easement), or the authorities may require the entire property from the owner, which is a full and outright expropriation.

The valuation of the property taken by the authorities is, of course, dependent on each specific circumstance; however, certain principles can guide the valuation analysis. When dealing with a temporary taking of land (i.e., a temporary easement may be the acquisition for a period of time of a pathway in front of a property to accommodate the entry and exit of construction vehicles for the purposes of a public works project), the compensation is based on the loss in value of the property for the period that it is held by the authority. The most common measure of damages is the rental value of the easement area for the period of occupancy.

The temporary easement may also affect the value of the unencumbered land (this is referred to as injurious affection under the Ontario Expropriations Act), which is a form of damages that result when a partial expropriation causes a diminution in value to the remainder of the land. For example, one of our clients had hydro poles relocated to the front of her property, which represented a partial expropriation as the authorities were required to locate a public utility on a private land. Not only was the client compensated for the permanent taking of the portion of the land for which the hydro poles were located – but the property owner was also compensated for the appraised decline in value to the rest of the property as a result of hydro poles being located on her front yard. Of course, the marketability of a property with large poles at the front entrance is reduced as compared to the property without hydro poles.

With the extent of construction and infrastructure activity ongoing in Ontario, it is imperative that private property owners protect their rights in the event of a partial expropriation, temporary easement, permanent easement, full expropriation, or injurious affection caused by the authorities. It is imperative that private property owners consult with legal counsel before accepting an offer of compensation from the authorities and releasing the government from any future claims for losses on account of the expropriation.

We have recovered substantial settlements for commercial and residential property and business owners that have been impacted by government construction works and/or have had land expropriated. Give Goldstein Law Firm a call today for a free consultation in relation to your expropriation.

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