Significant changes to the Acquisition of Land Act 1967 commenced in February 2009. Some important changes include the following.
However, new section 19(4) permits the resuming authority to accept, and deal with, a claim for compensation served by a claimant more than three years after the day the land was taken if it “is satisfied it is reasonable in all the circumstances to do so”. If the resuming authority does not accept a claim served more than three years after the day the land was taken, the claimant may apply to the Land Court to decide whether it is reasonable to accept the claim.
Until that change, the Queensland Land Court and the Land Appeal Court had followed English court decisions that held that a person whose principal place of residence is resumed is entitled to be reimbursed the stamp duty and legal costs of acquiring a replacement residence, but a person whose investment property is resumed is not entitled to reimbursement of stamp duty, search fees, legal costs and other expenses incurred in acquiring a replacement investment property.
The rationale was that the owner of the investment property could have invested in other investments that did not involve those costs, such as shares, and it would be unreasonable to require the resuming authority to pay the costs due to that choice of investment. Many owners of resumed investment properties were aggrieved by those decisions, and disappointed to discover that they were not entitled to reimbursement of the considerable costs of replacing their investment property. This change is very welcome.
Many of the changes to the legislation are welcome, particularly the right to claim the costs and duty incurred in replacing an investment property, but all landowners should be aware of the new three-year limitation period and ensure that their claim for compensation is lodged within that timeframe to avoid a potentially expensive and uncertain application to the Land Court for an extension of time.
If you have any queries you can contact a member of our team on 07 3231 2444.