Expropriation is commonly understood to be the compulsory acquisition of property by statutory authority. Expropriation powers may be exercised by governments as well as by a host of statutory bodies and institutions, including municipalities, hospitals, universities, and public utilities, all of whom have expropriation powers delegated to them by legislation. Privately owned pipeline companies may acquire expropriation powers under the National Energy Board Act or under certain provincial legislation.
Many expropriation statutes permit expropriated owners to object to the fact of expropriation. Nevertheless, such provisions may be more window dressing than real. It is not often that an aggrieved owner can successfully challenge the fact of an expropriation. The issue thus comes down to one of compensation. The compensation provisions of the Act are based on the general principle that, after receiving compensation, the owner should be in the same economic position as before the expropriation. The following guidelines are used for determining compensation.
You are entitled to receive the advance payment on a "without prejudice" basis. This means that accepting payment does not deprive you of the right to claim additional compensation, providing you make the claim within one year. Within 30 days of approval being given to proceed with an expropriation, the expropriating authority must make an advance payment of compensation. This payment must be accompanied by an appraisal report that forms the basis for the amount advanced. You, in turn, have the right to have your property valued by an appraiser of your choice. The expropriating authority will pay the reasonable cost of this appraisal. There could be elements of value of which the approving authority is unaware at the time the advance payment is made.
Bramwell & Associates Realty Advisors has extensive experience dealing in the appraisal of property for the purposes of expropriation, including the identification and valuation of all types of damages. When notified of a planned expropriation, contact us as soon as possible to maximize the damages you are entitled to.
For more on expropriation, read our 2012 article for the Real Estate Institute of British Columbia "Characteristics of an Expropriation Appraiser for Litigation Support", or call us today at 604-608-6161 (Lower Mainland) or 1-855-787-2828 anywhere in North America.