Thousands of people in NSW are facing having their homes and
property compulsorily acquired by the government in 2017, under the
Land Acquisition (Just Terms Compensation) Act 1991.
The law does not allow home owners to stop the government taking
their home if it is needed for a major state project, but there is
plenty you can do to make sure you get the best possible deal.
According to the 2016-17 budget estimates, over the previous
four years the NSW government acquired 1,713 properties, an average
of 428 per year. Of these, 1,403 – or 81% – were
acquired by way of agreement with the government department
acquiring the property.
Higher property prices obtained by challenging government's
When an owner challenges the government's initial offer, the
matter goes to the independent office of the
Valuer General to determine compensation for the property owner. The
property owner can then challenge the Valuer General's
determination in the Land and Environment Court.
Most disputed cases are resolved before the case gets to a court
hearing. But the analysis suggests it's worth fighting it out
to the end. In 58 disputed cases between 2007 and 2016 that went to
a court hearing, the analysis found that the average level of
compensation ordered by the court was almost 58 per cent higher
than the initial offer.
Urban and rural residential properties
In urban residential properties, the average compensation
ordered by the court was almost 33 per cent higher. In 16 cases
involving rural residential land, the court's determination of
compensation was higher than the previous offer to the tune of
around 42 per cent on average.
It was only after the delay in releasing the report was exposed
publicly that the government announced changes to the compulsory
"Personal manager" to be appointed for each
The government promises a "personal manager" for each
homeowner who is having their home taken away from them, and
presumably they will argue that owners don't need their own
lawyer now as they will do all the work for you. However, these
"personal managers" will undoubtedly be on the payroll of
the government and will therefore have a conflict of interest.
The government is also promising six month waiting periods
before the owner has to negotiate. This happens anyway and
negotiations usually don't start until the deadline is almost
upon the owner to make them panic and accept the deal which is
being offered to them.
A lessee will need to demonstrate that the genuine interests of the lessor will be protected if relief is granted.
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