An old house is demolished for development, having been bought by the local authority under a Compulsory Purchase Order. CPO orders explained by SAM Conveyancing
Being forced to sell to your property to a public body?
Our team are experienced in helping convey compulsory sales and our solicitors can help you negotiate the terms or apply to have your costs reimbursed.

Click to get a quote and we'll call you back to discuss your options

Compulsory Purchase Order On My House (CPO)

(Last Updated: 15/02/2023)
7 min read
Key Takeaways

What is the meaning of compulsory purchase?

A Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) allows a public body to force you to sell your home if it obstructs a regeneration project (or if doing so is ruled to be 'in the public good').

For example, they are generally taken out by local authorities and used when a regeneration project is planned and your home lies on the land where the development will take place.

The public body cannot force you to sell simply by making the compulsory purchase order. The validity of the order may be challenged by judicial review within 6 weeks. Then the order must be confirmed by a confirming authority, either:
  • the relevant government minister (the confirmation of CPOs located in Wales is the responsibility of Welsh ministers); or
  • an inspector appointed by the relevant minister to take the decision on their behalf (‘delegated cases’).
The process can be quite complex and drawn out as it involves consultations and you have to be allowed to lodge objections.

However the good news is that the authority involved must normally compensate you. You can be compensated for, among other things:
  • the value of the property;
  • the cost of acquiring and moving to a new property; and
  • the costs of seeking professional advice.
You can therefore look to get your conveyancing costs which accompany your move to a new home refunded.

This article examines:


    Compulsory Purchase Order Law

Essentially the main laws in England & Wales which govern the use of Compulsory Purchase Orders are:


    Can I fight a compulsory purchase order on my house?

You can refuse a compulsory purchase order. However, you should bear in mind that the public body serving the CPO would already have been expected to exhaust other options before issuing the notice which, for example, in the case of the construction of a supermarket, would mean the supermarket was expected to carry out private negotiations with you first, among other things.

Objecting to a proposed CPO

There are limited grounds and strict timescales in which you can object. Seek legal advice as soon as possible, to see if you can make an objection. All objections must be submitted to the relevant authority in writing.

Contact us to get legal advice from our trusted solicitors.

Valid objections will be considered by a Planning Inspector through written representations or a public enquiry. They will prepare a report making recommendations as to whether the confirming authority should modify or reject the order.

Challenging the confirmation of a CPO

The challenge you face is that by the time the body has secured a CPO, they would most likely have 'covered all bases' - normally the process includes at least one public consultation - so even though you can opt to take the body to court, you'd need to have legally watertight grounds to have any chance of success.

You can challenge the confirmation in the high court if one or more of the following apply:
  • The powers granted by the CPO exceed the powers permitted by the Act of Parliament under which they are being sought
  • Correct procedure was not followed
  • The confirming authority hasn't come to the decision properly (e.g. disregarding relevant considerations or focusing on irrelevant ones).
The high court has the power to quash all or part of the CPO, or to request the confirming authority to reconsider the CPO.

Current legislation does allow you to be compensated for any payments you make for advice from, for example, expert surveyors - you're entitled to receive advice of a comparable standard to the public body intending to force the purchase - although the costs have to be reasonable.

You certainly can't object simply because you disagree with CPOs on principle or 'don't like' being forced to move. You should carefully consider any advice you receive from the surveyor you've chosen - who should have expertise in this area - and act accordingly.


    How long is a Compulsory Purchase Order valid for?

If a CPO order is confirmed, it must be exercised within 3 years of the date that the order was made.


    Compulsory purchase process

There are 5 different ways they can acquire your home:
  • By agreement - the land owner agrees the terms on which to sell, the price may include an amount in respect of severance, injurious affection and disturbance as appropriate
  • Notice to Treat - if you receive a notice to treat you should respond to the questions it raises and to submit a notice of claim for compensation, in writing, to the acquiring authority within their specified timescale (no less than 21 days).

    & Notice of Entry - this gives notice of the date on which the authority intend to take possession of the property (no less than 3 months). You may be able to serve a counter notice requesting them to take possession on a different date.

    The title does not transfer until it has been conveyed
  • General vesting declaration - gives the acquiring authority the right to enter and take possession of the land and it vests (transfers) the title to the land, to the acquiring authority.
  • By procedures for acquiring ‘short tenancies’ (less than one year) - The acquiring authority may terminate a short lease by acquiring the freehold/head lease and serving notice to quit under the terms of the lease.

    Or, the acquiring authority can serve a notice of entry provided a notice to treat has been served on the freehold interest.
  • Blight notice - You may bring forward your acquisition if your property has become 'blighted' (Blight is when the value of the property is reduced as a result of planning or development), if you are:
    • a resident owner-occupier of a private dwelling
    • an owner-occupier of any business property where the annual (rateable) value does not exceed the prescribed limit at the date of service of blight notice
    • an owner-occupier of an agricultural unit
    • certain mortgagees and personal representatives
    • Not an investment property owner
    You must use this form to give written notice, stating your interest in the land and the statutory grounds.

    The acquiring authority can serve a counter notice under specific circumstances (within 2 months). If you disagree with the counter notice you can take the matter to the upper tribunal (lands chamber) within 2 months.


    Compulsory purchase compensation

You can be compensated for the value of the property itself as well as your costs for acquiring and moving to a new property and seeking professional advice. The compensation you will be awarded depends on what type of property you own or occupy:

Frequently Asked Questions
Andrew Boast of Sam Conveyancing
Written by:
Andrew started his career in 2000 working within conveyancing solicitor firms and grew hands-on knowledge of a wide variety of conveyancing challenges and solutions. After helping in excess of 50,000 clients in his career, he uses all this experience within his article writing for SAM, mainstream media and his self published book How to Buy a House Without Killing Anyone.
Caragh Bailey, Digital Marketing Manager
Reviewed by:

Caragh is an excellent writer in her own right as well as an accomplished copy editor for both fiction and non-fiction books, news articles and editorials. She has written extensively for SAM for a variety of conveyancing, survey and mortgage related articles.

People also searched for

Radon Testing explained by SAM Conveyancing

Radon Testing: what happens if my property is in a radon affected area?

Can a Jointly Owned Property Be Sold by One Owner with girl giving keys back to partner

Can I force the sale of a jointly owned property?

A shopping cart containing wood-block houses, with a red jagged arrow pointing down, showing the decrease in the property's value at sale/purchase. SAM Conveyancing's top 10 things that cause property values to decrease & how to fix them

What Causes Property Values To Decrease?