Land expropriation can impact a number of parties that have an interest in the property, including the legal owner, tenant(s), mortgagee(s) and others, which we will refer to as the “landowner.” An expropriated landowner has a presumptive right to compensation from the expropriating authority.
As a starting point, compensation is based on the market value of the land. In addition to this, landowners may be able to claim “disturbance damages”, compensation for “injurious affection” and compensation for any special difficulties in relocation after an expropriation.
Damages for injurious affection
These damages may be available regardless of whether a landowner is forced to move, and may be available to non-occupying landowners. These damages are paid for any personal or business damages resulting from the construction or use of the project for which the expropriation took place. They can include cleanup costs, structural or other damages caused by the process, and any interference with their use of the land, whether temporary or permanent.
Additionally, if part of a property is expropriated, the landowner is entitled to compensation not just for the market value of the portion taken, but also for any resulting loss of value of the remaining portion. These damages may also be available to a landowner that has not been expropriated where a public project causes personal or business damages or reduces the market value of a property.
Special Difficulties in Relocation/Equivalent Reinstatement
Compensation is also payable where a landowner encounters special difficulties in relocation, such as where a property equivalent to the one expropriated is not available or the compensation for market value of the expropriated property is not enough to purchase such a property. This is sometimes referred to as the “home for a home” concept.
If the expropriation of a property results in an occupying landowner to move off of the property, and in some other circumstances, they can claim disturbance damages. These may include anything that is “the natural and reasonable consequence of the expropriation,” such as the time and transaction costs of finding a new property, and associated moving expenses like reconnecting services. For commercial property owners, they may make claims for higher taxes at a new property, business expenses or losses associated with the move itself, or the cost of advertising their new location.
Advice about expropriation and your legal rights
At Duncan Linton LLP, our municipal and planning lawyers regularly handle expropriation matters on behalf of commercial and residential landowners. We can provide timely advice about your rights, and help you determine the scope of a fair compensation package. If necessary, we also assist with hearings at the Ontario Land Tribunal relating to expropriations and related matters.
To discuss a potential expropriation matter, or any other municipal or planning law questions, contact us online or call 519-886-3340 to make an appointment with one of our experienced lawyers.