Asserting your position before a government agency, municipality, expropriating body or other public authority can be a long and complex process. One must be very familiar with the laws, regulations and administrative systems, while adapting the approach to each situation. At De Grandpré Chait, our lawyers specialized in public real estate law apply their knowledge of municipal law, municipal taxation and expropriation to skilfully defend your interests. With one of the only teams of lawyers in Canada with recognized expertise in each of these areas of public real estate law, you can count on our negotiating skills to solve your problems with the various authorities, as well as our sharp litigating abilities to represent you before civil and administrative tribunals, if required.
Whether an issue involves zoning, land use planning and development, derogatory use or vested rights, rapid and astute advice can help you avoid many headaches. That is why real estate developers generally prefer receiving advice throughout every step of a project. We represent them regarding applications for minor derogations, overall development plans, the site planning and architectural integration programme, special projects for the construction, change or occupancy of a building, and zoning changes. We can also provide support regarding your dealings with public bodies to obtain the necessary permits and certificates, including building, operating and sign permits.
You can rely on our lawyers to intervene in the contestation of offence notices issued by municipal authorities or to contest various municipal by-laws, such as zoning and nuisance by-laws, as well as for actions involving a legitimate expectation created by a public authority. Our lawyers are very familiar with zoning legislations, such as the Act respecting land use planning and development, the Cities and Towns Act, the Municipal Code of Québec and the Municipal Powers Act. We can therefore provide you with an opinion on the validity, legality and application of municipal by-laws and challenge them, if necessary.
To avoid potential lawsuits and ensure the success of your projects, our lawyers specialized in public real estate law negotiate and draft memorandums of understanding, borrowing by-laws and by-laws allocating the cost of infrastructures with various public bodies. In this regard, we analyze, contest and apply subdivision and construction by-laws, among others.
Our lawyers can also help you with the environmental aspects of a project, particularly with respect to obtaining certificates of authorization issued by the ministère du Développement durable, de l’Environnement et de la Lutte contre les changements climatiques under the Environment Quality Act and to representing you before the Bureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (BAPE).
- Advised a Canadian public corporation in the redevelopment of an area on the South Shore of Montréal, in concert with the Agence métropolitaine de transport, the ministère des Transports du Québec and various municipal public agencies
Land owners count on our lawyers’ expertise when contesting values entered on the real estate assessment roll and the validity of certificates of amendment issued by the tax authorities. In this regard, we enforce the Act respecting municipal taxation before various administrative and civil tribunals.
With in-depth knowledge of the exemptions granted by the Commission municipale du Québec, individual tax regimes and land transfer duties, our lawyers can also help you draft and interpret tax clauses found in leases.
- Convinced the Superior Court to dismiss the claim of a property owner intended to change the apportionment of property taxes levied against a commercial centre based on the separate assessment theory. This judgment contains important guidelines regarding the apportionment of property taxes and the interpretation of commercial leases.
- Obtained the cancellation by the Superior Court (confirmed by the Court of Appeal) of two certificates to change the entry on the real estate assessment roll of the golf club operated by the Montréal Country Club. These certificates had the effect of changing the applicable tax rate during the term of the roll, from the residual category of immovables to the category of non-residential immovables, and increasing the surface area of the land from 30 to 45 hectares.
- Obtained municipal and school tax-exempt status from the Commission municipale du Québec for a non-profit organization with respect to 33 residences used as transitional and therapeutic housing
- Obtained, for an international company, recognition of the non-taxable status of the electrical and mechanical systems of its building used primarily for industrial production
Whether you are an owner or a tenant, we can represent you by contesting an expropriation and by ensuring that you are fully compensated, including any claim for damages resulting from an expropriation. As soon as you find out that a public body wants to acquire your property by mutual agreement, you will consider the services of our expropriation lawyers invaluable. In some cases, we negotiate with the expropriating body, even before the expropriation notice is sent, to ensure that you receive fair compensation in such a situation.
Once an expropriation notice is served, we make the necessary representations before the Tribunal administratif du Québec (TAQ) and before the courts in the case of a judicial review or appeal. Our expropriation expertise also includes the taxation of a land reserve by a public body and actions for damages following a disguised expropriation by a public body.
- Proceeded, in connection with an agreement between a municipality and a large real estate developer, with the consolidation through expropriation of several million square feet of property located on the North Shore of Montréal for the purpose of a large residential development
- Acted for a car rental company whose premises were subject to total expropriation, requiring a complete relocation of their business
- Represented the owner of a commercial and residential building in connection with an expropriation by the City of Montréal
- Represented the owner of an industrial building in connection with an expropriation by the Société de tranport de Montréal.