GD writes: Our shop is to be demolished in the second phase of a redevelopment scheme. Phase one was to be the other side of the street but that has been delayed because compulsory-purchase procedures have had to be initiated. The developer and the council will now bring forward phase two, which involves the demolition of our shop and the others on the block. We are tenants five years into a 20-year lease. What rights do we have?
With compulsory purchase, the acquirer must first serve formal notice of this intention on all owners and occupiers. If you object to the proposed scheme, you should state your grounds in writing in line with the requirements of the notice. If you make an objection, the body with the power to authorise the purchase must either hold a public inquiry or allow the objector to appear and be heard by a person appointed by that body. If an inquiry is held, the environment secretary will give at least 42 days´ notice of its date, time and place. A notice will also be posted in a conspicuous place near the land to be purchased. You are entitled to appear at the inquiry or send a barrister, solicitor or other representative. The inspector heading the inquiry will make recommendations to the environment secretary, who will then decide. If the compulsory-purchase order is made, notice is given both individually and in the press. You can appeal to the High Court during the following six weeks, but not over the merits of the order – only on a point of law. You will be entitled to claim compensation for the 15 years´ unexpired term of your lease, and disturbance and removal costs. You said your landlord might sell to the council, which would then become your landlord. If that were to happen, you should check your lease. If it contains a break clause your landlord can exercise, he could terminate your lease, in which case you would not be entitled to compensation under the compulsory-purchase procedure. In this situation you might be entitled to other statutory compensation payable by the landlord for termination of the lease, depending on whether or not your lease had been excluded from the security of tenure provisions of the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954.