Expropriation and Fair Compensation

General Litigation

Consider a scenario where a government authority (federal, provincial or municipal) advises you that it will be expropriating your residential or business property.

What compensation are you entitled to?

The British Columbia Expropriation Act, RSBC 196, c. 125, provides that the property owner is entitled to “market value” of the owner’s interest in the property (plus reasonable damages in appropriate cases).

The determination of market value can be a challenging one. For example, in the recent case of Chen v. Township of Langley, 2024 BCSC 154, the British Columbia Supreme Court ultimately determined that the Chens were entitled to an increased payment of more than 37% above what the Township offered and paid as “market value”.

In the Chen decision, the BC Supreme Court viewed the evidence and found that the Township’s approach to market value was not correct. The judge noted that the Township’s appraisals did not properly consider relevant sales information and did not adequately account for the property’s value in a rising real estate market.

Further, the Court reaffirmed that because expropriating authorities have significant powers, the courts must strictly interpret expropriation statutes in favour of the parties whom have an interest in the property. This can include tenants as well as property owners.

The legislation and case law regarding expropriations set out various principles to be considered and applied to the determination of “market value” as well as business losses that can occur in expropriation cases.

The legislation also provides a basis by which a property owner or business owner can recover the legal costs relating to the expropriation.

For these reasons, a property owner or business owner who is affected by a pending expropriation will be better informed if they seek legal advice prior to negotiating a settlement with a government entity that is expropriating land.

If you are dealing with a pending expropriation, please do not hesitate to reach out to Brad Martyniuk and the team at LK Law for assistance.

Brad Martyniuk, Lawyers Vancouver, LK Law Brad Martyniuk
Partner | General Litigation

This article is intended to be an overview of the law and is for informational purposes only. Readers are cautioned that this article does not constitute legal or professional advice and should not be relied on as such. Rather, readers should obtain specific legal advice in relation to the issues they are facing.