What should you do if your property is being expropriated?

Posted on: Thursday, April 11th, 2013

What is expropriation?

Expropriation is the compulsory taking of your property by an Expropriating Authority. It is a right granted through federal or provincial statutes to authorities such as governments, universities, or public utilities. It involves situations where privately owned land is needed for public projects such as the building of roads, highways, or schools. The Expropriating Authority must offer the owner of the expropriated land fair market value for their property, which refers to highest price in terms of money that a property would bring in if exposed for sale on the open market. When disputes arise in relation to the amount that is offered, the owner may go to the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB) in order to negotiate a settlement that is deemed appropriate.

Can I stop an expropriation?

You do have the legislative right to object to the expropriation by requesting a Hearing of Necessity which theoretically safeguards the landowner’s interest as it requires the Expropriating Authority to prove that the land it is seeking to expropriate is necessary for the achievement of its objectives. You can also commence a legal proceeding against the Expropriating Authority by filing a Notice of Arbitration and Statement of Claim with the Ontario Municipal Board (OMB).

Who pays the legal costs?

When the matter proceeds to litigation and the OMB makes an Order regarding the amount of compensation, the landowner’s legal, appraisal, and other related costs are recoverable from the Expropriating Authority if the Board orders the Expropriating Authority to pay at least 85 percent of the amount offered when it made its Section 25 Offer of Compensation. The Expropriating Authority can require that the costs be assessed, but the assessment is based on the standard of the costs as between the lawyer and his/her client which is the highest level available, also referred to as Full Indemnity. If a settlement is recorded without a compensation hearing, the landowners legal, appraisal, and related costs almost invariably form an element of the settlement.

What compensation am I entitled too?

Under the Expropriations Act, there are four different types of claims that may be made:
1. fair market value for the property that was taken;
2. claims for injurious affection if the construction of a public work has diminished the value of the owners’ property;
3. disturbance damages which refers to the losses, costs, or expenses that were incurred by the Statutory Owner as a result of inconvenience and dislocation; and
4. claims for business losses, including compensation for the loss of goodwill.

To view our full FAQ Guide on expropriation visit our expropriation page by clicking here.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. The information does not constitute legal advice and a solicitor and client relationship is not created.

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