Is it fair for the government to expropriate a property and pay less than fair market value? No, said the Honourable Madam Justice Fleming in the New Westminster Court on March 11, 2015.
On December 27, 2012, the City of Chilliwack expropriated Mr. Chen’s property, paying him $600,000 for the highly visible corner development property.
An owner of expropriated property is entitled to be compensated in accordance with the Expropriation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 125 (the “Act”) which includes compensation for the market value of the expropriated land and disturbance damages.
Mr. Chen contended that the market value of his property was 1.1 million dollars. On April 17, 2013, Mr. Chen filed notice of civil claim.
Both Mr. Chen and the city had the property’s value appraised. The appraisals were complicated, and took into account the value compared to other properties in the area, as well as adjustments for remediation of the property, and deductions for time and effort required for repairs to by made to the property.
Justice Fleming assessed that neither the city’s appraisal (by Dale Hooker), nor Mr. Chen’s appraisal (by Simon Poon) were entirely satisfactory, because they used different comparables and different adjustments.
However, the Judge was able to utilize the appraisal information to determine that the market value of Xing Chen’s property was $820,000 at the time of expropriation. Consequently, the City of Chilliwack was ordered to pay Mr. Chen $220,000, the difference between the city’s original payment and the assessed value.
In Langford, near Victoria B.C., Carey Geldart, the resident of a McCallum Road property, contends that the city is “low-balling” them with the appraisal of their property. According to a Times Colonist story dated March 21, 2015, Langford intends to expropriate a portion of the property to extend a road.
Langford city staff reported that they did not commission an appraisal of the property. They explained that their “rule of thumb” is to offer landowners 130% of the B.C. Assessment value for the property.
Jayne Embree, M.A.