As a land owner, you have rights in this process. These include:
- You have the right to compensation on just terms.
- You have the right to obtain advice from your own lawyer, valuer and other experts.
- You have the right to have the system including timeframes explained to you at the beginning of the process and to ask questions.
- You have a right to receive a plain English guide to the land acquisition process.
- The acquiring authority must meet with you to assist you to work through this process (unless another arrangement is agreed).
- You have the right to be reimbursed for professional fees reasonably incurred, such as legal and valuation fees.
- If a Proposed Acquisition Notice is issued, you have the right to discuss, in person, your compensation claim and/or any issues or concerns you have with a representative of the Valuer General.
- You will receive a copy of all the documents provided to the Valuer General that are used to determine compensation before the compensation determination is finalised.
- The Valuer General’s report must clearly explain the valuation and how the issues you have raised have been considered. You must receive a copy of this.
- You can ask the acquiring authority if and how you may continue to stay on the land after it has been acquired.
How much time will I have?
To deliver a fairer and more transparent process for land owners, we have introduced a fixed 6 month negotiation period before compulsory acquisition can commence. The 6 months begins on the date the land owner is advised of the intended acquisition. This timeframe will give land owners more time to consider their options, understand the process and engage properly with the relevant acquiring authorities.
In certain situations, the 6 month period will not apply, such as where the land owner and acquiring authority reach agreement before the 6 month period expires, or they agree to a longer negotiation period.
What information do I get?
At the time you are informed that your land is being acquired, you will be provided with a copy of the Land Acquisition Information Guide or an equivalent document. This easy to understand guide includes information to help land owners understand the process and their rights.
Land owners whose land is being compulsorily acquired will also be contacted by the Valuer General at the start of the process and provided simple to follow information to explain the steps involved and where to seek help.
A preliminary valuation report will be provided to the land owner before the final compensation determination is provided to the acquiring authority and the land owner. At this time, the land owner is also provided with a plain English explanation of how the compensation amount was determined.
What can I be compensated for?
Land owners are entitled to compensation for a number of things including market value for their house and land, reasonably incurred legal fees, stamp duty in purchasing a property of equivalent value, and personal disruption and loss as a result of having to move. Find out more.
Who will help me through the process?
Support is available for land owners and residents throughout the land acquisition process.
To improve of communication between the land owner and the acquiring authority, land owners are entitled to at least one face to face meeting with the acquiring authority at the beginning of the process.
Government has also introduced the role of Personal Manager Acquisition (PMA) to provide a dedicated point of contact for land owners and residents.
Place Managers will also be available to help land owners, their neighbours and the community understand the impacts of the project.
Those going through the compulsory acquisition process will also be provided a dedicated case coordinator to provide help and support.
What if I don’t agree?
If you are unable to reach agreement during the 6 month negotiation period, the process of compulsory acquisition will begin. You can still reach agreement with the acquiring authority during the compulsory acquisition process.
The compulsory acquisition process generally takes between 90-120 days but can be much shorter if agreement is reached sooner.
If agreement still cannot be reached at the end of the compulsory acquisition process, the land will be compulsorily acquired. The Valuer General will determine the compensation payable to you, and the acquiring authority has 45 days to send you a compensation notice, offering you the amount of compensation determined by the Valuer General.
If you do not accept the compensation offer, you can appeal to the Land and Environment Court within 90 days of receiving the offer.
Find out more about compulsory acquisition.
My house is in a zone designated for future infrastructure, but isn’t being acquired yet. Will the Government buy it?
If you need to sell your land to the acquiring authority before it needs to buy it (perhaps before a project is ready for construction), you can ask the acquiring authority to purchase the land under what is called hardship.
For example, some owners may experience difficulty in selling their land if it (or even part of it) has been designated for future acquisition.
Land is designated for acquisition if:
- An application for development consent or building approval has been made, and an acquiring authority has given written notice that the land is designated for future acquisition; or
- The land is shown in an environmental planning instrument as reserved for a public purpose and an acquiring authority is listed as responsible for acquiring the land.
To meet the Act’s criteria for hardship, you must demonstrate:
- That it has become necessary to sell the land for pressing personal, financial, domestic or social reasons or to avoid a substantial loss in income; and
- That your attempts to sell the land, since it was noted for future acquisition, have been unsuccessful.
If you meet the criteria for hardship the authority must purchase your land within 90 days of you submitting your hardship application (unless you and the authority agree to a longer period).
Additional costs are generally not included in the compensation payment. This is because the owner’s request to have his or her land acquired is taken as a willingness to accept the normal costs associated with selling land.
What if my application for hardship isn’t accepted?
We’ve made some changes to the hardship process to help make it more fair and transparent for land owners.
If you make an application for hardship that is not accepted by the acquiring authority, you have the right to a merits-based review of the decision. This review would be undertaken by a suitably qualified independent person appointed by the Minister for Finance, Services and Property. The decision of the reviewer is final.