Compulsory purchase of property

What is a compulsory purchase order?

Certain statutory bodies can take land or property without the owner's consent. A compulsory purchase order (CPO) is the legal function they use to do this.

Compulsory purchase usually happens to allow a public infrastructure project to go ahead for the common good. CPOs are most often used for road improvement schemes and urban development schemes, such as the LUAS project in Dublin.

What should I do if I get a CPO?

The compulsory purchase system is a complex area. You should get professional advice from a chartered surveyor if you are served with a notice about a CPO. The fees charged by a chartered surveyor are part of a normal claim for compensation.

You can find a chartered surveyor on the website of the Society of Chartered Surveyors Ireland (SCSI). The SCSI is the professional body for chartered surveyors.

If you get a CPO, you have the right to:

  • Object to it
  • Make representations
  • Negotiate
  • Refer the matter to property arbitrators
  • Have your objections heard

Can I get compensation?

If your house and land are compulsorily purchased, you can get compensation. The level of compensation should:

  • Leave you in the same position financially as you were before the compulsory purchase, or as close as possible to this
  • Be based on the market value of your property
  • Reflect the value of the land that is purchased and any reduction in the value of any land you keep that came about because of the CPO

The Society of Chartered Surveyors has a client guide to CPOs and compensation.

How long will the compulsory purchase process take?

The CPO process can take about 18 months. But, it can be shorter or longer than this. There are a number of factors which can affect this timeframe, including:

  • The size of the CPO
  • If there are objections
  • If there is an oral hearing
  • If there is a judicial review

Compulsory purchase of derelict or dangerous property

Local authorities are responsible for dealing with derelict sites, dangerous places and dangerous structures in their areas.

A local authority can buy dangerous land and derelict sites in its area by either:

  • Agreeing this with the owner
  • Compulsory purchase

This includes land that is no longer dangerous because the local authority has carried out work on it.

What is the process for purchasing these sites?

The local authority must advertise the details of any proposed compulsory purchase in the local newspaper. They must also send a notice to the owner or occupier of the land, giving them information about how and where to object to the proposed purchase.

For dangerous places, a notice must also be posted on or near the land, giving details of the local authority's intentions to compulsory purchase the place.

If someone makes an objection, the local authority cannot buy the land without the consent of An Bord Pleanála.

If An Bord Pleanála approves the compulsory purchase and the local authority has dealt with any objections, the local authority can buy the land, using a vesting order.

Useful contacts and information

The Society of Chartered Surveyers

5 Wilton Place

Tel: +353 (0)1 6765500
Fax: +353 (0)1 6761412
Page edited: 24 July 2023