The Land Acquisition and Compensation Act 1986 (Vic) (the Act) allows certain authorities to acquire an interest in land from Victorian landholders.
An acquiring authority, or an entity proposing to acquire an easement for a public use, must provide an offer of compensation that reflects a “fair and reasonable estimate” of the value of the land in question.
Duffy & Simon have represented landholders and occupiers to ensure that any offer reflects not only the true market value of the land, but also the ongoing loss of profits and costs incurred by landholders as a result of the acquisition.
What can I be compensated for?
There are six general areas of compensation that may be taken into account when determining what is fair and reasonable:
- Losses associated with a change in the market value of the land;
- Any special value which is incidental to the ownership or occupation of that land;
- Any decrease in market value of any interest in the land attributable to severance of the land, or a portion of that land;
- Financial losses suffered as a natural, direct and reasonable consequence of the acquisition;
- Costs associated with obtaining legal advice and valuations incurred as a result of the acquisition;
- An award known as “solatium”, being not more that 10% of the market value of the acquired land, representing intangible losses such as loss of a property that has been in the possession of the owner for some time, and loss of the family home.
Peace of mind when choosing Duffy & Simon
Duffy & Simon and our expert consultants of Market Valuers and loss assessors will guide you through the myriad of possibilities and risks involved in negotiating a fair and equitable settlement from the authority. Whilst at first glance, an offer of compensation may appear fair and reasonable, upon close examination of the types of losses that may be claimed, this offer may fall short of what you’re entitled to claim as a result of the Acquisition.
Do I have to pay my own costs?
The Authority is required to pay the reasonable costs of obtaining advice from a lawyer about your Acquisition, as well as the costs of any valuers, loss assessors and forensic accountants required to determine the loss to your land and to your business. Duffy & Simon will work proactively to ensure your legal and professional costs are paid in full by the acquiring authority.
Do I have to give the authority possession?
The authority is required to negotiate with you the terms upon which it will enter into possession of the land.
Where the acquisition is proposed by way of an easement or by agreement, there is opportunity for a landholder and occupier to raise objections. This process is complicated and requires expert evidence, and must be explored prior to any agreement being entered into in relation to the Land.
A formal Notice of Acquisition is required to be served on an affected landholder, and once served will specify the date for handing possession to the authority. The validity of this Notice may be reviewed under certain circumstances.
I have an offer of compensation, what now?
You should provide Duffy & Simon with a copy of the offer, to be reviewed by our team. The offer will explain the amount that the authority deems to represent a just and fair amount of compensation.
When will I know that my interest has been acquired?
Generally, a landholder or a tenant of the land that is being acquired will be aware of the reasons of the proposed acquisition, before the acquisition occurs. However, the acquisition process will formally commence when:
- the authority serves you a Notice of Intention to Acquire; or
- the authority approaches you directly to negotiate the sale of your property.
When do I let Duffy & Simon know about this notice?
You should make contact with Duffy & Simon immediately when you are approached to discuss an acquisition, and upon receipt of the Notice of Intention to Acquire. Duffy & Simon will commence investigations into the likely enforceability of any proposed acquisition together with the impact on your interests.
Duffy & Simon has considerable experience and local knowledge including;
- Pipeline acquisitions;
- Roads Acquisitions;
- Local Government Acquisitions;
- Power line Acquisitions;
- Gas Line Acquisitions; and
- Rail Acquisitions.
Duffy & Simon has local knowledge of land conditions and land uses, and are best placed to assist you in understanding the process, and obtaining a truly fair and just result.