Expropriation

Expropriation is the taking of all or a portion of an owner's land against his will by an expropriating authority. Ledroit Law acts exclusively for property owners, including where Notice of Expropriation has been given but before the taking has occurred.

Understanding expropriation requires not just an understanding of your land or business, and what has been taken from you, but also how the taking has affected the remainder of your property, which is known as Injurious Affection (diminution in value to the land).

We work closely with Ben Lansink, a recognized expert in North America in Expropriation Valuation. Mr. Lansink deals with the market value estimate of what has been taken as well as assessing the Injurious Affection to land.

His opinions have been accepted by the juridical bodies that deal with the determination of disputes between expropriating authorities and land owners.

Ledroit Law lawyers practice in a variety of closely related areas of law such as assessment appeals, commercial real estate litigation, and professional liability work.

This enables us to provide clear and comprehensive advice to property owners on any issue dealing with the taking of land and easements. Our team uses its extensive real estate and commercial litigation expertise to assist property owners who have been expropriated.

Property owners should be aware that, pursuant to the Expropriations Act, the expropriating authorities are typically required to pay the property owner's reasonable legal fees and reasonable expert and appraiser expenses. Ledroit Law will not be looking to you for payment of our fees nor our experts' fees. Expropriated land owners should always retain a lawyer.

Expropriation Process

When retained by land owners, we provide comprehensive and strategic advice respecting rights of land owners to full and fair compensation for the taking of their land.

Land owners, in addition to the value of the land taken, can also be entitled to costs of replacing removed trees, landscaping, and other changes made to their property.

For business affected, the expropriating authority can be required to compensate for damages arising from the relocation of a business, loss of revenue, loss of goodwill, and other damages.

We understand that the expropriation process can be a confusing and stressful experience for property owners. We're here to help.

Expropriating Authorities, due to the intrusion into the property rights of land owners, are required to give Notice to the property owners well in advance of any taking. Property owners who receive notice of an intended expropriation are entitled to further information from the expropriating authorities to determine whether the taking of the land, as proposed, is necessary and in the public interest.

Property owners should seek legal counsel as soon as possible after receiving a notice.

Once retained to act for a property owner in an expropriation matter, our experts will complete a comprehensive appraisal report. Our experts do not predetermine value. Value is concluded only after the property has been personally inspected, and all property and market facts have been analyzed. You will be able to speak directly with our experts and express any concerns and questions you may have.

Once all of our reports are complete, claims can be resolved through the Board of Negotiation, which is a less formal negotiation process between the parties, or through Arbitration at the Ontario Municipal Board, which is the final decision maker when it comes to compensation for land owners.

While we attempt to facilitate early settlements and negotiations wherever possible, sometimes it is necessary to see the matter through to completion at the Ontario Municipal Board. We, along with our experts, attend at OMB hearings to give evidence and argue on your behalf.

The Rights of Property Owners

We have been retained by individual property owners whose lands have been affected by road widenings and other takings, such as Hydro corridors, as well as by large groups of property owners who have been affected by other large scale projects. We have recently acted for property owners and farm families affected by the Bruce to Milton Hydro corridor by Ontario's Hydro One.

Whether your property is a small dwelling, a large farmstead, or a commercial enterprise, you are entitled to have a lawyer and real estate expert advise you regarding fair compensation for the taking of your land.

Based on the recommendations of the Royal Commission Inquiry into Civil Rights and the Law Reform Commission report on expropriation an Expropriations Act was passed in 1968. That Act remains in substantially the same form today. It is clearly a remedial statute enacted for the specific purpose of adequately compensating those whose lands are taken to serve the public interest.

The Supreme Court of Canada has said, in Toronto Area Transit Operating Authority v. Dell Holdings Ltd., that the Expropriations Act must be broadly interpreted to ensure that property owners are adequately compensated when the government takes their lands to serve the public interest. The Court viewed expropriation as an "ultimate exercise of governmental authority." Since taking property significantly interferes with citizens' rights, the Act should be interpreted in their favour.

Cost to Property Owners

When an authority expropriates all or part of a property owner's land, a power imbalance exists between the authorities and the owners.

The law, in an attempt to restore balance, requires that the expropriating authority pay all reasonable legal and expert fees.

If the expropriating authority and the property owner are not able to agree as to the proper compensation payable, the property owner is entitled to accept the offer for compensation made by the authority without prejudice to the right to seek additional compensation above and beyond what has been offered.

The process of seeking further compensation requires expert reports and the work of lawyer, and can only be done once a full assessment and valuation of the property has taken place. The expropriating authority is required to compensate the land owners for these expenses, should the land owners elect to pursue this remedy.

The land owners have a right to have the taking considered on the basis of all material factors affecting his or her land, and all possible material market evidence supporting the market value. The property owners are entitled to have their expert and their lawyer leave no stone unturned when it comes to full and fair compensation.