In undertaking various infrastructure projects, authorities are often required to purchase property interests. The local governing council is required to approve property acquisitions by an expropriating authority. At first instance, the expropriating authority must request approval from Council to request an application to expropriate lands and for the offer of compensation made to the owner of the property.
The first step in the expropriation process is to serve property owners with notice of intent to expropriate, following approval from the local governing council. Each owner then has 30 days to request a Hearing of Necessity, or inquiry into whether the taking of the lands was reasonably necessary, or if an alternate means to achieve the project can be undertaken without the expropriation.
Following approval of the expropriation, a certificate of approval and plan of expropriation are registered at the Land Registry Office. At this point, the authorities acquire ownership of the property; however, further steps are required to obtain possession or the right to access the property.
Following registration of the expropriation plan, the notice of expropriation, along with an election will be served on the property owners. An offer of compensation is the third step in the expropriation process. If you are a property owner or business owner and have been served with an offer of compensation in relation to an expropriation of land, it is best to consult an experienced expropriation lawyer prior to signing any release agreement.