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Compulsory Acquisition

Is your property being acquired in NSW?

Is your property being acquired to make way for a new infrastructure project, such as the new Sydney Metro lines or the Western Sydney Airport infrastructure. There are multiple State agencies that can acquire either all or part of your property. This includes your local council who can acquire your property for a public purpose, such as local road widening, new parkland, or drainage works etc. This article highlights the importance of getting sound professional advice to help you through the process.

Power to acquire

The Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 (NSW)(JTC Act) sets out the procedural requirements for a NSW Government agency to compulsorily acquire your land. The actual statutory power to ‘acquire your property’ must come from another Act, for example Part 1 of Chapter 8 of the Local Government Act 1993. The power to acquire also extends to a leasehold interest as well as the freehold title. 

The Castle

Unlike the popular Australian film, challenging the power to acquire your property is not so straight forward and it’s certainly a little more than involved than just the ‘vibe’ (Note: the film was focused on a Commonwealth, not a State, acquisition). Instead the JTC Act provides for a merit appeal to the Land and Environment Court of NSW in cases where a dispossessed property owner is not happy with the amount of compensation determined by the NSW Valuer-General.

Why it is important to get professional advice

The primary purpose of the JTC Act is to ensure that you are properly and justly compensated for the acquisition of your property. The Act provides for the Valuer-General to make an independent assessment of the value of compensation that the relevant acquiring authority is required to offer. The key to determining the freehold value is a proper understanding of the underlying value of the property. For example, it may not just be market value of your single storey dwelling, but the underlying development potential for medium density housing that is a more significant valuation factor.

The JTC Act provides that the acquiring authority must include the cost for professional legal advice, valuation and other costs. Those costs do not come out of any compensation offered to you. These costs are compensated on top of the compensation amount. If you don’t have a lawyer or valuer, then you simply do not get those costs paid by the acquiring authority. So you loose the benefit of professional advice and the chance to maximise your total compensation amount by not getting that advice and getting it early.

Our team at Madison Marcus can guide you through the whole acquisition process and we have access to leading valuation and other experts, to ensure the best possible outcome for you.

For all enquiries in relation to land acquisition matters or advice, please contact our expert team today.