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Property on the Line

Leading Gold Coast solicitor Simon Bennett looks at the impact of the rapid transit light rail project on landowners and bodies corporate.

Property on the Line - DownloadMany Gold Coast residents recently received Notices of Intention to Resume showing the Queensland Government needs their land to build the light rail system. OMB Solicitors senior partner Simon Bennett says land owners can lodge an objection to the light rail project but unless an objection is successful the resumption of land will proceed.

Assuming the resumptions go ahead, the next step is to establish the amount of compensation to be paid to landowners. The process of determining the level of compensation is complex. Compensation can be decided by agreement or by the Land Court.

"The Department of Main Roads is responsible for the light rail project. This department will pay individual land owners market value for resumed land as well as any reasonable valuation and legal costs. The matter is more complicated when property is owned by a body corporate," Simon says.

A body corporate involves numerous parties; these include lot owners, tenants, the resident unit manager and the body corporate as a separate legal entity. Simon says the 1967 Acquisition of Land Act regulates the resumption of land but prevents a body corporate from agreeing on compensation unless a motion is passed at a general meeting of the body corporate without any objections.

"This means one lot owner can delay the process. If one party votes against accepting the compensation agreed between the body corporate committee and the government, the body corporate is unable to accept the offer.

"The body corporate must then start Land Court proceedings to determine the amount of compensation to be paid. This is risky, the amount of compensation may be reduced and the body corporate may have to pay their own legal costs as well as those costs incurred by the government.

"OMB Solicitors is experienced in protecting the rights of people involved in the resumption of land. We have a dedicated team specialising in body corporate rights," he says. Southport based OMB Solicitors is in a prime position to help land owners and bodies corporate in the path of the light rail project.

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This article was featured in Label Magazine, by Simon Bennett