Thursday, 13 July 2017

‘Nail Houses’ and property rights… Can you or should you refuse to sell?

China's infrastructure is being built at a rapid rate. Large real estate developments are being constructed and enormous dam, road and rail projects are all necessary to meet the needs of their growing population/economy.

But what happens when a dam needs to be built right where a village of 170,000 people are living?

Due to China’s socialist era, there are some issues with the ownership of land. Requisitions or Resumptions of land laws can differ depending on whether it is urban or farming land.

In China land can be Requisitioned if it is in the “interest of the public”. But what does this mean? A dam might be for the public, but what about a large real estate development for a private developer that will provide lots of jobs. If the development or infrastructure is not for a public purpose, can a farmer or landowner stand their ground and refuse to move?

'Nail houses' is the term given to those landowners who refuse to move. The consequences of this decision can be quite striking.

Zheng Meiju outside her nail house in Rui’an, Zhejiang province, in July 2013. She has been living in the partially demolished home for nearly a year, even though the water and electricity supply were cut. Photograph: China Stringer Network/Reuters

Nail houses isolated by man-made ditches on a construction site in Yangji village in Guangzhou last year. The ditches were dug by relocated residents, forcing those remaining to move out. Photograph: Liu jiao/Imaginechina/AFP

A nail house sits in the middle of a road under construction in Nanning in April 2015. The owner of the house didn’t reach an agreement with the local authority about compensation for the demolition. Photograph: China Stringer Network/Reuters

Perhaps the most famous nail house is this one left stranded in the middle of a road in Wenling, in Zhejiang province. An elderly couple refused to sign an agreement to allow their house to be demolished. Photograph: China Daily/Reuters

Local effects

We can give an example of this situation in Central Queensland. The ADF announced that they wished to acquire multiple grazing properties in Marlborough and near Charters Towers late last year.

The purpose for the resumption is to accommodate increased training activities with the Singaporean armed forces. After much media attention and a commendable amount of media pressure the ADF announced that they would no longer acquire properties by “force”. They will acquire properties on a voluntary basis only from willing landowners.

But what happens to those that stand their ground and refuse to sell their land? What if those who stand their ground are surrounded by land that is acquired? What is the value to their land, their access routes and their use?

How will the ADF handle these?

Thursday, 6 July 2017

Solar - so hot right now!

The Queensland Government released a 4 page, Powering North Queensland Plan recently.
Further in the State Budget it is proposed that some $386million would be invested in the plan.

Interest in renewable energy projects has increased at a frantic rate since January 2016
Landowners are being approached by solar and/or wind project developers and in some cases, multiple developers are contacting landowners wanting to secure site access.

There are many incentives being offered to Solar Farm or Wind Farm developers right now. It may be the case that you are interested in a project being operated on your land, or if you have been approached by one or more project developers, you should inform yourself about the space in which you are entering.


As a starting point we recommend you visit the following sites (for a bit of light reading!)

Some landowners just happen to be located in a perfect area for these projects. As a start, these companies require access to the grid, meaning a large capacity power line or substation with capacity should be located nearby. A landowner who has a block located out of flood areas, with favourable vegetation mapping and a freehold with good road access could be the owner of a viable site.

This may command a good rental return from a Solar Farm. A Wind Farm site usually again can be built on land with favourable vegetation mapping and on a range where the wind speed is appropriate.
It is important to choose your developer wisely if you are approached by more than one developer.

The Landowner Lawyer is happy to speak to you regarding the Solar Farm or Wind Farm state of play at any time.