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Compulsory purchase orders

There are some pieces of legislation that can seem daunting to homeowners. An example you may have heard of is a compulsory purchase order. These are issued when a company wants to buy your home so they can do something with the land it stands on.

At haart we have expert advice at the ready to help you. This guide will help you to not only understand what a compulsory purchase order is, but how to proceed if you are given one.


What is a compulsory purchase order?

Compulsory Purchase Orders (CPOs) allow public bodies to force homeowners to sell up if their property obstructs a regeneration project or it’s for the ‘greater public good’. That definition sounds scary, because it uses the word ‘force’ but in fact the authority who issues the CPO to you cannot force you to sell. What it means is they are applying for the powers to do so.

A CPO is usually issued as a last resort as a business will approach homeowners through official channels beforehand to discuss buying the property so plans can go ahead. They are required to enter into ‘meaningful negotiations’ with you and are required to pay what the market value would be. Sadly, this is the current value so could be lower than when you bought it.

Why might a company or authority apply for a CPO?

The reasons a CPO is issued can range. It can be anything from the building of new roads to a shopping centre or airport expansion in your area. There is also the possibility that your property is considered a danger to the public (if it needs major repairs for example) or it is a listed building that needs to be looked after.

Examples of circumstances a CPO can be used for include:

  • Major building projects, including housing developments or flood defence works
  • Improving or installing services, for example water mains or road or rail improvement
  • Clearing areas of bad housing which may include building new developments afterwards

There’s a similar process for when companies want to launch transport schemes and Nationally Significant Infrastructure projects. Heathrow airport is using something called a Development Consent Order (DCO) and High Speed Two (HS2) is using a Hybrid Order which goes through Parliament. These are all pieces of legislation that work the same way a CPO does.


How much do I get paid for my home?

As well as market value, you are entitled to reasonable costs for appointing a chartered surveyor specialising in CPOs. This person will value, negotiate, and guide you through the process as it isn’t always straightforward. If you reach an agreement for sale, you are also compensated for hiring a solicitor to transfer ownership to the buyer.

You are also entitled to disturbance compensation. This covers some moving-related costs including recovering costs or losses relating to your existing home like replacing carpets, or disconnections and reconnections for services. This is unique to each case, so be sure to check with your chartered surveyor beforehand.


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Does a CPO mean I am forced to sell?

No. When a CPO is made, the authority is applying to a government department for powers to be able to force you to sell - it’s not an instant ‘you have to sell’ notice. What you (and any others also affected) do next will impact the process and it may take months or years before the authority secure these powers, if they do at all.


Can I object to a CPO?

Yes, you can object to a CPO. However, all objections must be made in writing to the appropriate Government minister or member of the Welsh Assembly. The body trying to acquire your property must provide you with the contact details for this person and the time period for objecting.


What should I do if I think my home is affected by a CPO?

If you want to find out if an authority is trying to apply for a CPO for your home, you should contact your local council as it should hold all relevant details for new developments in the area.

You can contact the authority yourself to find out more and should be given the name and contact details of the person handling the CPO correspondence. Make sure you keep a record of any and all correspondence with that person and the authority as it could be vital if the case goes to court. You should look to take professional advice as early as possible to make sure that the whole process is conducted properly.


Get help with haart

We have plenty of advice when it comes to the rules and regulations on owning a house. You can call us to chat through anything that concerns you, just find the local branch to you, they will be glad to help you. Our phone lines are open from 8am-10pm, seven days a week to ensure we are there for you every step of the way.

We make it our mission to get you moved. haart’s Buying Process is our useful guide packed full of the steps and responsibilities for a buyer, as well as hints and tips to make the process as stress-free as possible.

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