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Property Compensation

Volume 129: debated on Wednesday 9 March 1988

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To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how the sum of £50 is arrived at as an offer of compensation based on site value in an area scheduled for redevelopment, for a property yielding £16 per week rental income; and if he will re-examine the level of compensation currently offered in respect of some properties in Agnes street, Carrickfergus.

The redevelopment area referred to was vested under the Local Government Act (Northern Ireland) 1972 and the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1981.The housing order directs that when assessing compensation on the acquisition of a house, classified as unfit for human habitation and incapable of being rendered fit at reasonable expense, then the value to be ascertained is the site value on the assumption that all buildings are removed and available for redevelopment within the building byelaws in force at the date of vesting. In these circumstances, the structure on the site and the rental income generated from that structure are not relevant.The £50 offer of compensation represented an assessment of the value of a small site in Carrickfergus at 3 July 1986 (the operative date of the vesting order).A claimant in any case is under no obligation to accept when he believes the compensation offered is unrealistic. Recourse may be made to the Lands Tribunal for Northern Ireland.

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if he will introduce amending legislation to ensure that owners of properties denied access to home improvement grants for a prolonged period because of pending proposals for redevelopment by the Northern Ireland Housing Executive will receive fair compensation for property acquired through voluntary negotiation or after a vesting order.

Compensation for property acquired by the Housing Executive is governed by current values in an open market determined on the basis of either the value of the houses or of the sites cleared of all buildings as appropriate under the Housing (Northern Ireland) Order 1981. Consideration is being given to amending legislation which would abolish the site value rule in article 91(1) of the 1981 order.