The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published a new guide to inform property owners and occupiers of the compulsory purchase order (CPO)

Property owners and occupiers who find themselves subject to a potential compulsory purchase order (CPO) are not always aware of the options that are available to them – including how to engage with the process and ensure they are adequately compensated.

To support them and increase their understanding of the often lengthy and complex process designed to deliver a fair outcome, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) has published a new guide.

From knowing the difference between the many different types of CPOs, to understanding the lengthy process that takes place before a shovel hits the ground, property owners can often find themselves bamboozled, which is why RICS has launched a new updated guide which outlines each step.

The principles behind compulsory purchase order compensation are set out in law – any payment must reflect the market value of the property or land concerned, and some Orders in England and Wales may offer a further “loss payment”.

Businesses can also receive compensation to reflect losses incurred by a CPO – including costs relating to relocating, redundancy and any temporary or permanent loss of trade.

However, the wide range of independent expert support and advice for anyone subject to an Order is not always immediately obvious.

The new RICS guide advises those affected on the entire CPO process, detailing amongst other things that:

  • those seeking to compulsory purchase must contact anyone affected with all the information about their project and the early purchase or mitigation options they wish to offer. This could be in the form of an invitation to meet the developer directly or through written letter.
  • seeking a surveyor’s independent advice from an RICS professional on the value of your property or land will help ensure you are compensated fairly should the Order go ahead. It’s also recommended to ask those behind a CPO if they will meet the cost of seeking professional advice, as the process shouldn’t leave anyone but the developer out of pocket.
  • anyone affected can object or make representations about whether the Order should be authorised. There are limited grounds on which an objection can be submitted so it is important that people get the appropriate professional advice when considering objecting. It also pays to be prompt – as there is a time-limited window to submit representations – something your professional would be able to advise on.
  • keeping all expenses logged and documented will be crucial, as you must provide evidence to support any compensation claim associated with the costs of moving home, buying a replacement premises, disturbance to your daily life and any removal expenses.

Publication of the guide comes as new RICS data from Q2 2021 showed infrastructure projects – such as new roads, railways and power stations – are expected to increase over the next year as the UK Government plans to ‘build back better’ from the Covid-19 pandemic.

As these major projects, alongside plans for housing delivery and town centre regeneration, get underway across the country, the number of CPOs sought to facilitate these schemes is also anticipated to rise.

‘The first stepping stone for anyone affected by compulsory purchase’

Commenting on the publication of the new guidance, co-author Paul Astbury, said: “Compulsory purchase is an essential tool for delivering much-needed housing and infrastructure in the UK, but it inevitably has a big impact on the lives of those losing their homes or business premises to make way for development.

“This guide is the first stepping stone for anyone affected by compulsory purchase to understand what to expect, how to find professional advice and how the cost of advice can be met.”

Co-author Dan Knowles, added: “With Compulsory Purchase, the adage of fail to prepare, prepare to fail is more apt than in many areas of Surveying.

“This new guide helps enlighten those affected by or working with Compulsory Purchase, providing a clear basis from which professional advice from RICS member Compulsory Purchase Surveyors can build upon.”

Chairperson of the CPO working group Virginia Blackman, said: “Members of the RICS CPO Expert Working Group are focused on best practice in use of compulsory purchase to facilitate housing, regeneration, and infrastructure.

“A key part of this is ensuring those affected have reliable, independent information on how proposals will affect them, and how best to find professional advice and representation.

“We hope the updated Consumer Guide will be useful to residents and businesses and would encourage acquiring authorities to signpost this guide at an early stage.”

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