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Frequently Asked Questions

Why does the Municipality require property?

The Municipality may acquire property that it requires for its operational purposes or for public purposes. The Municipality, as part of an approved Capital Works Project, acquires land for such purposes as:

• Infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks, bridges, etc.;
• New HRM facilities such as community centres, fire stations, transit terminals, park lands, etc.;

Corporate Real Estate, in co-operation with the HRM client departments works to acquire the property or property rights that is required to accommodate the municipal project.

Why my property?

During the design phase of any project, research into the abutting property owners is conducted to help identify those effected by the proposed project. Following identification a communication plan is developed and delivered by the Capital Project Team that is responsible for the scope of work.

How is my property valued?

The municipality acquires property at fair market value by obtaining the services of a accredited appraiser to assist in establishing the fair Market value and related compensation for the ‘land' required for the Project. In some cases the ‘land' may be the entire property, or a portion of the property, depending on the project requirement.

What is the process and how long does it take?

• Identify and contact effected property owners
• Procure the services of qualified appraiser
• Present Letter of Offer to property owner
• Negotiate agreement with property owner
• Obtain appropriate Municipal approval for acquisition of property
• Present an Agreement of Purchase and Sale to property owner
• Conduct any required survey work and due diligence for the property
• Close on the property acquisition

Depending on the priority of the project the acquisition process for the property can range from 2 to 6 months from start to finish.

What if a negotiated agreement can not be reached?

The majority of the time the Municipality is able to negotiate an agreement with the property owner. If an agreement can not be reached, and Regional Council considers it necessary to acquire the property for Municipal purposes, the Municipality, as a designated authority through the Expropriation Act, can acquire the property by expropriation. An expropriation is the taking of land without the consent of the owner by an expropriating authority exercising its statutory powers. For more information on the Expropriation Act go to

If someone has encroached on HRM land or has been maintaining it, in past years, does that parcel of land now belong to the encroacher/resident through ‘adverse possession' or ‘squatter's rights'?

No, adverse possession does not apply with any government property. And HRM, at any time, can ask the proponent to relocate the encroachment and return the land to its natural state at the proponent's expense.

What happens to land that is not being used by HRM?

Although it may appear that the land is not being used, it may be considered a passive, conservation, open space or green space parcel of land that may never have any other function.

What happens should HRM land next to my residence or area become unsightly?

Call 311 and advise the Service Representative of this matter.

Can I clear the trees off HRM land, even if they are falling down?

No, please call 311 and advise the Service Representative of this matter.

Am I allowed to put signs on HRM property?

No, please call 311 and advise the Service Representative that you are inquiring about erecting a sign and they will connect you with the appropriate business unit.