If you have been served with a Notice of Expropriation (Form 7) under the Expropriations Act, R. R.O. 1990, Reg. 636 (the “Act”) in Ontario, this suggests that the authorities will be undertaking the process of taking all or a portion of your land for a public purpose.
Under s.25 the Act, the expropriating authority is required to furnish an offer of compensation accompanied by an appraisal report, showing the valuation of your property interest. This offer can be accepted in full and final settlement of all claims against the authorities, or, more preferably, it can be accepted without prejudice to the property owners rights to claim additional compensation in the future.
If you are not satisfied with the offer of compensation for the interest in your land, the authorities will undertake an amicable negotiation process with the landowner. If that does not result in a successful outcome, the landowner is entitled to have compensation negotiated in an informal mediated setting called the Board of Negotiation established under the Act or to have compensation determined by the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal if an agreement with respect to compensation cannot be reached by negotiation session.
It is imperative that the property owner understands that they are entitled to compensation for the fair market value of their land taken, and the diminution in value of the remaining lands in which they retain ownership (also referred to as injurious affection). Injurious affection may occur where, for example, a large retaining wall has been built at the end of their property, or aerial transmission lines, which impact the view of the property and result in a general decline in appraised value. Though these instances do not represent a direct taking of property, the property owner has the right to claim for compensation as a result of the value destruction. Each taking of land is unique and the compensation entitlements of the property owner (and business owner where commercial premises are expropriated) is highly dependent on the facts of the land taken.
The property owner and expropriating authority may agree to dispense with the negotiation procedures and refer the matter directly to the LPAT to have compensation determined by arbitration.
With respect to legal and professional fees, Section 32(1) of the Act provides that the Board shall make an order directing the statutory authority to pay the reasonable legal, appraisal and other costs actually incurred by the owner for the purposes of determining the compensation payable, and may fix the costs in a lump sum or may order that the determination of the amount of such costs be referred to an assessment officer.
Contact an Expropriation Lawyer in Toronto today for a free consultation on your rights if your property is subject to an expropriation in Ontario.