What Compensation Can I Receive for Expropriation
Of all the stresses, concerns and even anxiety that can arise when Ontario landowners learn that their property is being expropriated, perhaps the most worrisome is the financial wellbeing of the landowner.
The property in question often forms a significant part of the net worth of the landowner and, as such, the level of compensation the landowner will receive is a primary concern. That concern can be exacerbated when there is a dispute about the value of a property and any other compensation that may be due based on the process of the expropriation.
To start at the beginning, if your property is the subject of an expropriation, the Ontario Government’s Expropriation Act entitles you to compensation for the property and, potentially, other costs incurred by you because your property is being expropriated.
The Expropriations Act uses a combination of four compensation factors to determine the level of compensation you should receive. The exact compensation you receive may be based on any one and/or combination of the factors.
1. The Fair Market Value of the Property Being Expropriated
The fair market value is the selling price that the property might be expected to be sold for on the open real estate market by a willing seller to a willing buyer. The fair market value is determined on the valuation date, which is usually the date of expropriation. If, for whatever reason, there is no demand for the property, the fair market value is set according to the cost of the owner relocating to a similar property. If just a portion of the property is being expropriated, the fair market value is arrived at by determining the value of the entire property and deducting the value of the remaining property after expropriation has taken place.
2. Damages Attributable to Disturbances Due to the Expropriation
The Expropriations Act states that the expropriating authority must compensate the property’s owner "such reasonable costs as are the natural and reasonable consequences of the expropriation." These costs can include amounts due to the inconvenience and direct costs of relocating; improvements to the expropriated property that were not factored into the fair market value; costs related to tenant and/or security holder disturbances and relocation; business losses due to the relocation of a business necessitated by the expropriation.
3. Damages for Injurious Affection
In the case where only a portion of a property is expropriated, owners may also be entitled to compensation due to ‘injurious affection’, which can include damages that result from the expropriation, but that are not directly attributable to the value of the property, and the reduction in market value of the owner’s remaining property as a result of the expropriation. Examples of injurious affection can include the owner’s remaining property being left in an awkward shape due to the expropriation, the loss of driveway access or business losses.
4. Special Damages Related to Relocation
In cases where property owners experience special difficulties when relocating to another property due to expropriation, the owner may be entitled to compensation for those difficulties. One example may be the difficulty in finding a new property with certain features of the expropriated property.
If you have been approached by an expropriating authority your property, you should get qualified legal advice as soon as possible to protect your rights and interests. You can contact us here at Bisceglia & Associates to schedule a consultation.