As we have mentioned here and here, the act of expropriation is a powerful mechanism available to public authorities to involuntarily purchase a property owners land. In many cases, the authorities will not require the entire building or land in order to carry out its public purpose. Rather, the majority of expropriations are partial expropriations, whereby the authorities seek to purchase a portion of land that resides in a property owners parcel. The taking of easements is very common practice among expropriating authorities and it is imperative that property owners are sensitive to the amount of compensation that is being offered in exchange for the easement.
What is an Easement?
An easement is a right granted to a party to use a property owners land for a specific purpose. In the context of expropriation law, easements may be temporary or permanent. For instance, we have represented property and business owners in the York Region who have been served with Notices of Expropriation for both temporary limited interests (i.e., temporary easements) and permanent easements related to the York Region Viva Rapid Transit Corridor on Yonge Street from Sawmill Drive to Davis Drive in Newmarket.
The temporary limited easements typically related to authorities need to use various land that abuts the main roadway for construction purposes. Entries to parking lots and other laneways are often required by the contractors to store heavy construction equipment or as access points to enter and exit construction staging zones. Property owners have the obligation to accommodate the construction activities subject to their right to obtain compensation for the same. Often, the easement agreements will be entered into for a period of time (i.e., one or two years); and, in exchange for the compensation obtained, the expropriating authority will be released from any claims for the indicated period.
In the event the construction is not finished within the estimated timeline, a common occurrence in the context of public construction works, the property owner will have the opportunity to negotiate further compensation. It is critical that the expropriated property owner negotiates an agreement for compensation that preserves their rights to additional compensation should the construction continue to interfere with their business beyond a projected date. To this end, it is advisable to contact an expropriation lawyer to discuss the provisions around offers of compensation and negotiating expropriation-related agreements.
Goldstein Law Firm focuses on expropriation law and has experience with expropriation files related to various public construction projects, including but not limited to:
-Eglinton Crosstown LRT;
-York Region Viva Next Rapid Transit;
-Town of Oakville, Road Widening Projects;
-Finch West LRT Expansion.
Contact our expropriation law firm today for a free consultation!