All levels of government can acquire privately owned land for public purposes, for example road widening. The law does allow for the Government to acquire all of the land, part of the land or an interest in the land for example, an easement. However, there is plenty for a property owner to do to ensure that they get the best deal possible and this is why you should see the experts at Coutts.
The government authority that is proposing to acquire the private land is called the acquiring authority. Land can be acquired by agreement, or in the event that an agreement cannot be reached, by compulsory acquisition at a value determined by the Valuer General.
For the acquiring authority to compulsorily acquire land they must first serve the landowner with a Proposed Acquisition Notice (also called a PAN). Under recent amendments to the Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991 the acquiring authority must negotiate with the landowner for 6 months prior to the issuing of a PAN.
From the time that the landowner, or an interested party (for example a lessee) is issued with a PAN there are strict timeframes that must be adhered to. At Coutts we have specialist experience in this area of law as to the rights of the landowner or the interested party and the procedures to be followed and can help with this process and ensuring you get the best deal for you.
Five things to be aware of when the acquiring authority comes knocking on your door:
1. Do not sign any documents without getting expert legal advice;
2. Get legal advice – usually the reasonable costs of your legal advice are paid for by the acquiring authority;
3. You have the right to engage a Valuer – usually the reasonable costs of your valuer are paid for by the acquiring authority;
4. Always ask the acquiring authority for a full copy of its valuation if they are making an offer,
5. You have the right to be compensated and to negotiate the best deal for you.
For any further advice or legal assistance on this issue, please contact us at Coutts on 1300 268 887