Many people will be aware of the Cross River Rail project, with construction on this major piece of infrastructure now in full swing. As a necessary part of the project, the Cross River Rail Delivery Authority has taken a substantial number of subterranean volumetric parcels of land. Many of these compulsory acquisitions were formalised in July this year.
For those impacted by resumptions, it can be a challenging and stressful time. The combination of legislation and case law has created a specialised framework which governs the assessment of compensation. The process is rarely straightforward so the assembly of a specialised consultant team at the outset is an important first step.
Over the past few months, CBRE has been assisting landowners establish consultant teams and has been undertaking valuation assessments for compensation purposes as a result of the Cross River Rail project. Given the complexity and unique nature of compulsory land acquisitions, I thought it would be helpful to provide my top ten tips for affected landowners to better manage the process.
1. Take some time to understand the Acquisition of Land Act (AOLA) framework and relevant principles by talking to a solicitor or valuer that specialises in these matters or someone within your network who has been affected by a resumption in Queensland.
2. Be aware that all professional fees reasonably incurred in the preparation of a claim for compensation are compensable (i.e. will be reimbursed by the resuming authority) as a ‘disturbance’ item.
3. Engage a solicitor who specialises in AOLA matters to prepare relevant documents, to ‘captain’ the team of experts and to file your claim.
4. Engage a valuer who specialises in AOLA matters to assess compensation payable.
5. Attend an initial meeting with your solicitor and valuer to identify relevant issues and matters for consideration in the proper assessment of compensation. This may involve engaging other experts to assist with the assessment of highest and best use and/or the monetary loss caused.
6. If the land taken is subterranean and volumetric, you may need to consider whether the redevelopment potential of the retained land has been affected, and if so to what extent. The usual issues are loss of potential developable area and/or the introduction of penalty building costs associated with building over a tunnel. A town planner may be required to assist with this process along with a structural engineer and a quantity surveyor. Again, those fees are recoverable where reasonably incurred.
7. Understand that where part of a property is taken the ‘Before and After’ method of valuation is the accepted approach to the assessment of compensation. The ‘Before’ value is the Market Value of the Subject Property, entirely disregarding the Scheme of Resumption. The ‘After’ value is the Market Value of the Retained Land bringing to account the effects of the resumption. The difference between the two figures provides the assessment of compensation (before disturbance items are accounted for).
8. Be aware that temporary monetary losses due to interruptions/inconveniences caused by construction works associated with the resumption are disturbance items. Disturbance items are compensable separately to the loss in market value to the Retained Land.
9. Get your claim in early if you are one of many affected landowners under the same scheme of resumption.
10. Take a deep breath. It is a challenging process, but a manageable one if you are equipped with sound professional advice and a clear plan.
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