Everything You Need to Know About Compulsory Purchase Order

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Compulsory Purchase Order or CPO is a legal right of any public body – government agencies, utility companies and other acquiring authorities – to acquire or claim rights to any private property affected by public works that are for the greater good of the population. Land or property owners whose properties obstruct public works are forced to sell or offer terms on their land for use by acquiring authorities. Here are some other things that you need to know about Compulsory Purchase Order.

What are some instances when government authorities use CPO? 

  • New road projects or widening of existing road networks.
  • Purchase of homes deemed unfit for occupancy.
  • New tram and railway routes.
  • Construction of government facilities such as schools, hospitals, prisons and the like.

How can property owners benefit from CPOs?

The government or council proposes an offer to buy an individual’s property, or the owner can make the proposal to the acquiring authority. The owner may choose from compulsory purchase advisors to help him negotiate terms with the acquiring authority. An advisor must possess the following qualities:

  • He must have full knowledge of the CPO process. He must provide you with a general overview of how a CPO works: the timeline of the property acquisition as well as possible drawbacks from the sale. On the other hand, the property owner must also lay down everything there is to know about the property’s status so that the advisor can provide the most suitable advice.
  • A good reputation is a must. The property owner must evaluate the advisor; if he has a good track record, the right qualification and expertise on the matter. Research is key.
  • The advisor must possess the ability to communicate legal jargon into simple terms to property owners. If they have no prior knowledge about compulsory purchase order, which involves complex legal terminology, it can be hard to understand.
  • An advisor can present a host of legal strategies that he and the property owner can use to benefit from the compulsory purchase order. The owner must have the advantage in any CPO.
  • Governing bodies that regulate compulsory purchase advisors are the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Compulsory Purchase Association. If an advisor is a member of these organisations, clients will gain confidence in his capability to assist them in negotiating their land to acquiring authorities.

Can non-government entities be granted a CPO? 

Private corporations can be granted powers to acquire private properties through a statute in their favour.

How much will the property cost? 

The governing body will base the cost of the property on its current market value. Property owners can claim for the costs of hiring advisors to help them negotiate and solicitors to transfer land ownership to the acquiring authority.

Compulsory Purchase Order is a complicated legal strategy that needs professional assistance from advisors. Selling properties to acquiring authorities can also take months, even years before everything is in place.

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