Sorry if its not 100% law related query, as I am new here.

It seems that - in UK cities Compulsory Purchase agreement is enforced quite often by local councils.(Although there's a usual farce of 'Consultation Period' formality & authorities keeping 'everybody informed, very fairly & timely'... Mostly ex-council properties are first to get trapped into this, but looks like it could happen to private property / apartments as well. 1) So, while buying a resale Flat / budget property, how to guess - if the Flat you're planning to buy perhaps could get compulsory repossessed & bulldozed for more profitable regeneration projects eyed by big construction giants (mainly to build similar structure, but to earn massive profit out of it) ?

What are tale-tell signs to identify such properties, in order to avoid them (apart from simple criteria - Ex-council estates or very old building having visible cracks)?

2) And if you're unlucky enough to be the "Private" owner of such property, (who bought the property under private purchase from open-market at market price in the past). How to ensure that- you've given the compensation higher or equal to the amount you paid while buying the property originally. Since, as soon as compulsory purchase news's out, market prices of such properties will be crashing southwards. 3) Does previous property owner given any discount / property swap on the new properties/apartments they build after demolishing existing properties


1 Answer 1

  1. There is no easy way to guess. If you are buying, your solicitor will usually do a planning search, but you can usually search for planning applications on the local council website yourself, as well as reading development and regeneration plans. Local newspapers/social media can also be informative, especially if there are already active residents' groups.

    Ex-council are the most likely to be targeted, as there will be fewer owners to negotiate with if the majority of properties are still local authority tenanted. However, private leasehold developments are also vulnerable if the freeholder wants to clear the site for redevelopment.

  2. The problem is not usually being paid compensation equal to the amount you paid when buying the property (although of course 'blight' does affect valuation of the compensation amount). The problem is that usually the new "regenerated" properties are so much more expensive than what they replace that it is simply impossible for someone who is compulsorily purchased out of their existing property to afford to buy the replacement, especially in London. The properties most liable to compulsory purchase are often below average market value at the time of purchase, and do not appreciate at the same rate as average properties in the neighbourhood. Then, the replacement properties are often higher priced with the usual "new build premium" that applies.

When Elephant and Castle's Heygate Estate was eventually torn down in 2014, many tenants were forcibly evicted from their homes, given compensation at less than 40 percent of the market value.

At that time, a local one bed flat could be bought for £300,000, yet Southwark Council offered just £80,000 for Orho Okorodudu's Heygate flat. Another resident, Adrian Glasspool, a teacher, was offered £225,000 for his three-bed ground-floor maisonette. The equivalent on the new estate would set him back £1 million.

Southwark Council... announced that the new site of around 2,530 homes would host 500 social housing units. Yet by the time successful bidder, Lendlease, unveiled its final plans, just 82 were put aside for the people they'd turfed out.

  1. Any discount is highly unlikely as there is usually a chain of owner-occupier - council - regeneration agency - developer - builder or social housing operator and no-one in the chain will want to incur any cost (and most in the chain will be hungry for profit). There may be new home or shared ownership incentives, but they tie you in to buying at "new build premium" prices and of course in most cases you have no priority in applying for a property, whether buying or renting.

    In many developments, international investors will be able to buy off-plan years before local residents.

These family homes were put on the market to UK buyers in November of 2016, with prices starting at £550,000.

Sales of these properties began in Singapore on the 11th April 2014, with flash brochures and slick marketing conferences. Not a single unit was for sale in London at this time.

Transparency International state in their 2017 report "Faulty Towers" that the number of South Gardens units sold abroad is 51 out of 51 properties, as per Land Registry documents.

Every Flat in a New South London Development Has Been Sold to Foreign Investors

  • Is there any insurance such owner can take? Or if buying on mortgage will give any sort of protection?
    – vic2
    Commented Oct 10, 2019 at 19:47
  • mortgage is no protection (especially to the buyer - the mortgage lender might be covered) and I doubt insurance would be easily available, although a Lloyd's underwriter should be able to insure almost anything at a price.
    – Owain
    Commented Oct 11, 2019 at 18:51

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