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5 things you need to know about Compulsory Purchase Orders

A CPO (Compulsory Purchase Order) is a legal function that grants certain statutory bodies the right to take ownership of land and/or property without requiring the owner’s consent. In order to exercise that right the enforcing body must meet set criteria and prove that the purchase of your land and/or property is in the public interest. CPOs are most often enforced for road improvement schemes and other infrastructure projects.

Compulsory Purchase Orders are an extremely complex process. Should you be served with one you should engage the services of a Chartered Valuation Surveyor to protect your rights and negotiate on your behalf.  Below are 5 things to note should your property/land become the subject of a CPO.

1. You have the right to object, make representation and refer to property arbitrators.

Valid objections are generally on planning or legal grounds only. Even if you do not wish to object to the proposed CPO, it is important that you have a full understanding of the process and the implications for you of the exercise of the powers of purchase by the relevant body or authority.

2. You should be paid compensation based on the market value of your property/land.

Compensation rights can include the value of the property, the cost of acquiring and moving to a new property and the costs of seeking professional advice.

3. You should be left in the same financial position after CPO as you were before the process.

Known as the Principle of Equivalence, the aim of any compulsory purchase order should be to leave the affected party, in so far as money can, in the same financial position as before the property/ land was acquired.

4. The amount of compensation should have a reflection of the value of the actual property acquired and its diminution in value where applicable, of the part retained by the owner after the CPO.

For example, the construction of an embankment may obstruct the view from a house on the retained land. You may seek compensation if this could affect you as part of the CPO. ‘Injurious affection’ is the damage to retained land caused by the construction of a road and subsequent use. An agreement on compensation can often include an extensive list of accommodation works i.e. fencing, walls, water supply, drainage, relocation of septic tank, double glazing etc

5. Sometimes agreement on compensation will be impossible to achieve and may have to be resolved through Statutory Arbitration

The Arbitrator is completely independent of the acquiring authority. He or she has the same status as a High Court Judge. He will listen to both sides to the dispute and make his award accordingly based on the evidence presented.

The Compulsory Purchase system is a very complex and specialised area. The entitlement to compensation and the procedures of CPO’s vary according to the acquiring public authority and the legislation under which that body operates. It is important to engage in the process at an early stage and to take professional advice. 

Competent and skilful negotiations are critical to achieving the best possible outcomes. An experienced Chartered Valuation Surveyor will be able to assess the compensation payable to clients affected by a compulsory acquisition and to negotiate for the affected property/land owners, in order to obtain their full entitlement to compensation.

At O’Neill & Co we have the qualifications, knowledge and experience to guide you through the process. We have successfully represented people affected by CPO schemes over many years. If you find yourself in receipt of a compulsory purchase order we would be happy to talk with you to explain how we can help you navigate the process.

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