Compensation for a compulsory purchase order

This page explains what happens after a compulsory purchase order (CPO) has been confirmed. It explains what you can do to challenge the CPO, and what the council has to do to take over ownership of your home such as filing a general vesting declaration (GVD) or a notice to treat. In some cases, you may not need to move out for several years. If you're a tenant and your landlord has asked you to leave because they have a confirmed CPO, check eviction due to demolition or a compulsory purchase order.

What happens when the Scottish Minister confirms the order?

If the Scottish Minister overseeing a compulsory purchase order confirms the order, all owners and occupiers will be sent:

  • an official 'notice of confirmation'

  • a copy of the order

  • additional information explaining the effect of the CPO

  • a form for claiming compensation.

The council should also publicise the CPO in at least one local newspaper.

What if I want to challenge the CPO?

If you think the council has done something it isn't legally entitled to do, or hasn't gone through the correct CPO procedure, you can appeal to the Court of Session. You must do this within six weeks of receiving the notice of confirmation. The Court can grant an interim order to suspend the CPO until the matter is decided, and may decide to quash the order. Talk to a solicitor if you're in this situation - they will be able to tell you whether you have a case to pursue, and appeal on your behalf.

When will the council own my home?

Once the council has sent out the notice of confirmation, it doesn't yet own your home. In order to do so, the council must either:

  • send all owners and occupiers a 'general vesting declaration' notice, or

  • send all owners a 'notice to treat'.

Negotiating Compensation for the CPO

When negotiating compensation for your home you should be aware that you may be entitled to extra compensation such as disturbance compensation, solicitor fees and more. It is best to talk to an experienced surveyor and solicitor who can advise you. You can also seek advice and services from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors and the Law Society.

What is a general vesting declaration?

A general vesting declaration (GVD) is a formal procedure that gives the council the right to take over the ownership of your home. The council must wait two months after sending out the notice of confirmation before making a GVD. It will then send all owners and occupiers a notice announcing the GVD and giving you a date when it will formally own and take possession of your property. This date must be at least 28 days away.

Speak to your solicitor if you receive a notice announcing a GVD. They will be able to negotiate with the council on your behalf and carry out the legal work involved in transferring ownership to the council. Your solicitor's fees should be covered by your compensation.

What is a notice to treat?

A notice to treat is a formal request from the council to agree to a price for your home. Talk to your solicitor if you receive a notice to treat - they will be able to:

  • agree a fair price for your home

  • negotiate compensation

  • handle the legal work involved in selling your home.

Your solicitor's fees should be covered by your compensation.

What if the council only wants part of my property?

The CPO may only cover part of your property. However, if you feel that you won't be able to continue living in the remaining part, you can serve the council with a 'notice of objection to severance', forcing them to buy the entire property. For example, this could be the case if you will no longer have reasonable access to your home.

You need to apply for a notice of objection to severance within 28 days of receiving the notice about the GVD. Talk to your solicitor if you're in this situation, as they will be able to help you apply for the notice and negotiate with the council.

What happens once the council owns the property?

This will depend on what the council plans to do with your property. You will either be asked to leave, or the council may let you stay on for a while as a tenant.

When will I get payment for my home?

The money will be paid to you once the legal work to transfer ownership of the property to the council has been completed. However, if there are delays, or if you need to move out before you've agreed on a price, you may be able to get some of the money in advance. Read the page on compulsory purchase order price to find out more.

What if the council wants me to leave straight away?

Once the council owns the property, it has the right to order you to move out. In order to do this, it must send you a 'notice of entry', giving you at least 14 days' notice to leave. The council can do this even if it hasn't yet paid you the price for your home or your compensation - in this case, you should be able to get an advance payment.

If you don't move out at the end of the notice period, the council can apply to the sheriff court for a 'decree for recovery of possession', which is effectively an eviction notice. The case will usually be heard within 14 days. If the council has followed the correct procedures, the sheriff will probably grant the warrant. The council can then hire sheriff officers to remove you from the property, using reasonable force if necessary.

What if the council allows me to stay on?

If the council has no immediate plans for your home, it may allow you to stay on in the property as a tenant, paying rent. This will give you more time to look for a new home. However, unlike most council tenants, you won't have a Scottish secure tenancy, so you won't have many rights and will have to be prepared to move out when the council tells you.

Will the council find me a new home?

If you were a tenant of the home the council has just bought and you don't have a new, suitable home to go to, the council will be responsible for finding you somewhere to live. This new home must be a reasonable substitute for the home you've lost, and must meet any special needs you have. If you're not happy with the way the council treats you, talk to an adviser at a Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice.

How long will all this take?

The whole CPO process may happen fairly quickly, or it may take several years, especially if the council's plans are controversial. Once the Minister has confirmed the CPO, the council has three years in which to implement the order, so they may not take action straight away.

This means that working out when to move can be difficult. You may want to move out straight away, to avoid any further stress, but this could mean that you miss out on compensation. On the other hand, if you leave your move until the last minute, it may be hard to find a new home in time.

The best solution for you really depends on your individual circumstances. If you're unsure, it may help to talk to a solicitor, or to an adviser at a Shelter advice centre or Citizens Advice. They should be able to help you work out your options. You can also read about your housing options in the section on finding a place to live.

Can I force the council to buy my property?

The CPO process may take a long time. If you want to move on while the process is going on, you may find that you can't sell your home on the open market, or that the value of your property has dropped as a result. In this case, you may be able to force the council to buy your home by applying for a blight notice.

Will I get any compensation?

Both tenants and owners are entitled to compensation if their home is bought through a compulsory purchase order. You may also be able to get compensation if your home is badly affected by the work, but you don't actually need to move out. Read the page on public developments to find out more.

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Last updated: 24 January 2020

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