|FEDERAL-AID POLICY GUIDE
December 22, 1999, Transmittal 28
|49 CFR 24B|
SUBTITLE A - OFFICE OF THE SECRETARY OF TRANSPORTATION
PART 24 - UNIFORM RELOCATION ASSISTANCE AND REAL PROPERTY ACQUISITION FOR FEDERAL AND FEDERALLY ASSISTED PROGRAMS
Subpart B - Real Property Acquisition
24.101 Applicability of acquisition requirements.
24.102 Basic acquisition policies.
24.103 Criteria for appraisals.
24.104 Review of appraisals.
24.105 Acquisition of tenant-owned improvements.
24.106 Expenses incidental to transfer of title to the Agency.
24.107 Certain litigation expenses.
Authority: 42 U.S.C. 4601 et seq; 49 CFR 1.48(cc).
[57 FR 33264, July 27, 1992]
Source: 54 FR 8928, Mar. 2, 1989 and 64 FR 7127, Feb. 12, 1999, unless otherwise noted.
Sec. 24.101 Applicability of acquisition requirements
(a) General. The requirements of this subpart apply to any acquisition of real property for a Federal program or project, and to programs and projects where there is Federal financial assistance in any part of project costs except for:
(1) Voluntary transactions that meet all of the following conditions:
(i) No specific site or property needs to be acquired, although the Agency may limit its search for alternative sites to a general geographic area. Where an Agency wishes to purchase more than one site within a geographic area on this basis, all owners are to be treated similarly.
(ii) The property to be acquired is not part of an intended, planned, or designated project area where all or substantially all of the property within the area is to be acquired within specific time limits.
(iii) The Agency will not acquire the property in the event negotiations fail to result in an amicable agreement, and the owner is so informed in writing.
(iv) The Agency will inform the owner of what it believes to be the fair market value of the property.
(2) Acquisitions for programs or projects undertaken by an Agency or person that receives Federal financial assistance but does not have authority to acquire property by eminent domain, provided that such Agency or person shall:
(i) Prior to making an offer for the property, clearly advise the owner that it is unable to acquire the property in the event negotiations fail to result in an amicable agreement; and
(ii) Inform the owner of what it believes to be fair market value of the property.
(3) The acquisition of real property from a Federal agency, State, or State agency, if the Agency desiring to make the purchase does not have authority to acquire the property through condemnation.
(4) The acquisition of real property by a cooperative from a person who, as a condition of membership in the cooperative, has agreed to provide without charge any real property that is needed by the cooperative.
(5) Acquisition for a program or project which is undertaken by, or receives Federal financial assistance from, the Tennessee Valley Authority or the Rural Electrification Administration.
(b) Less-than-full-fee interest in real property. In addition to fee simple title, the provisions of this subpart apply when acquiring fee title subject to retention of a life estate or a life use; to acquisition by leasing where the lease term, including option(s) for extension, is 50 years or more; and to the acquisition of permanent easements. (See Appendix A of this part, Sec. 24.101(b).)
(c) Federally-assisted projects. For projects receiving Federal financial assistance, the provisions of Secs. 24.102, 24.103, 24.104, and 24.105 apply to the greatest extent practicable under State law. (See Sec. 24.4(a).)
[54 FR 8928, Mar. 2, 1989; as amended at 54 FR 24712, June 9, 1989; 58 FR 26070, April 30, 1993 (effective date June 1, 1993)]
Sec. 24.102 Basic acquisition policies.
(a) Expeditious acquisition. The Agency shall make every reasonable effort to acquire the real property expeditiously by negotiation.
(b) Notice to owner. As soon as feasible, the owner shall be notified of the Agency's interest in acquiring the real property and the basic protections, including the agency's obligation to secure an appraisal, provided to the owner by law and this part. (See also Sec. 24.203.)
(c) Appraisal, waiver thereof, and invitation to owner. (1) Before the initiation of negotiations the real property to be acquired shall be appraised, except as provided in Sec. 24.102 (c)(2), and the owner, or the owner's designated representative, shall be given an opportunity to accompany the appraiser during the appraiser's inspection of the property. (2) An appraisal is not required if the owner is donating the property and releases the Agency from this obligation, or the Agency determines that an appraisal is unnecessary because the valuation problem is uncomplicated and the fair market value is estimated at $2,500 or less, based on a review of available data.
(d) Establishment and offer of just compensation. Before the initiation of negotiations, the Agency shall establish an amount which it believes is just compensation for the real property. The amount shall not be less than the approved appraisal of the fair market value of the property, taking into account the value of allowable damages or benefits to any remaining property. (See also Sec. 24.104.) Promptly thereafter, the Agency shall make a written offer to the owner to acquire the property for the full amount believed to be just compensation.
(e) Summary statement. Along with the initial written purchase offer, the owner shall be given a written statement of the basis for the offer of just compensation, which shall include:
(1) A statement of the amount offered as just compensation. In the case of a partial acquisition, the compensation for the real property to be acquired and the compensation for damages, if any, to the remaining real property shall be separately stated.
(2) A description and location identification of the real property and the interest in the real property to be acquired.
(3) An identification of the buildings, structures, and other improvements (including removable building equipment and trade fixtures) which are considered to be part of the real property for which the offer of just compensation is made. Where appropriate, the statement shall identify any separately held ownership interest in the property, e.g., a tenant-owned improvement, and indicate that such interest is not covered by the offer.
(f) Basic negotiation procedures. The Agency shall make reasonable efforts to contact the owner or the owner's representative and discuss its offer to purchase the property, including the basis for the offer of just compensation; and, explain its acquisition policies and procedures, including its payment of incidental expenses in accordance with Sec. 24.106. The owner shall be given reasonable opportunity to consider the offer and present material which the owner believes is relevant to determining the value of the property and to suggest modification in the proposed terms and conditions of the purchase. The Agency shall consider the owner's presentation.
(g) Updating offer of just compensation. If the information presented by the owner, or a material change in the character or condition of the property, indicates the need for new appraisal information, or if a significant delay has occurred since the time of the appraisal(s) of the property, the Agency shall have the appraisal(s) updated or obtain a new appraisal(s). If the latest appraisal information indicates that a change in the purchase offer is warranted, the Agency shall promptly reestablish just compensation and offer that amount to the owner in writing.
(h) Coercive action. The Agency shall not advance the time of condemnation, or defer negotiations or condemnation or the deposit of funds with the court, or take any other coercive action in order to induce an agreement on the price to be paid for the property.
(i) Administrative settlement. The purchase price for the property may exceed the amount offered as just compensation when reasonable efforts to negotiate an agreement at that amount have failed and an authorized Agency official approves such administrative settlement as being reasonable, prudent, and in the public interest. When Federal funds pay for or participate in acquisition costs, a written justification shall be prepared which indicates that available information (e.g., appraisals, recent court awards, estimated trial costs, or valuation problems) supports such a settlement.
(j) Payment before taking possession. Before requiring the owner to surrender possession of the real property, the Agency shall pay the agreed purchase price to the owner, or in the case of a condemnation, deposit with the court, for the benefit of the owner, an amount not less than the Agency's approved appraisal of the fair market value of such property, or the court award of compensation in the condemnation proceeding for the property. In exceptional circumstances, with the prior approval of the owner, the Agency may obtain a right-of-entry for construction purposes before making payment available to an owner.
(k) Uneconomic remnant. If the acquisition of only a portion of a property would leave the owner with an uneconomic remnant, the Agency shall offer to acquire the uneconomic remnant along with the portion of the property needed for the project. (See Sec. 24.2.)
(l) Inverse condemnation. If the Agency intends to acquire any interest in real property by exercise of the power of eminent domain, it shall institute formal condemnation proceedings and not intentionally make it necessary for the owner to institute legal proceedings to prove the fact of the taking of the real property.
(m) Fair rental. If the Agency permits a former owner or tenant to occupy the real property after acquisition for a short term or a period subject to termination by the Agency on short notice, the rent shall not exceed the fair market rent for such occupancy.
Sec. 24.103 Criteria for appraisals.
(a) Standards of appraisal. The format and level of documentation for an appraisal depend on the complexity of the appraisal problem. The Agency shall develop minimum standards for appraisals consistent with established and commonly accepted appraisal practice for those acquisitions which, by virtue of their low value or simplicity, do not require the in-depth analysis and presentation necessary in a detailed appraisal. A detailed appraisal shall be prepared for all other acquisitions. A detailed appraisal shall reflect nationally recognized appraisal standards, including, to the extent appropriate, the Uniform Appraisal Standards for Federal Land Acquisition. An appraisal must contain sufficient documentation, including valuation data and the appraiser's analysis of that data, to support his or her opinion of value. At a minimum, a detailed appraisal shall contain the following items:
(1) The purpose and/or the function of the appraisal, a definition of the estate being appraised, and a statement of the assumptions and limiting conditions affecting the appraisal.
(2) An adequate description of the physical characteristics of the property being appraised (and, in the case of a partial acquisition, an adequate description of the remaining property), a statement of the known and observed encumbrances, if any, title information, location, zoning, present use, an analysis of highest and best use, and at least a 5-year sales history of the property.
(3) All relevant and reliable approaches to value consistent with commonly accepted professional appraisal practices. When sufficient market sales data are available to reliably support the fair market value for the specific appraisal problem encountered, the Agency, at its discretion, may require only the market approach. If more than one approach is utilized, there shall be an analysis and reconciliation of approaches to value that are sufficient to support the appraiser's opinion of value.
(4) A description of comparable sales, including a description of all relevant physical, legal, and economic factors such as parties to the transaction, source and method of financing, and verification by a party involved in the transaction.
(5) A statement of the value of the real property to be acquired and, for a partial acquisition, a statement of the value of the damages and benefits, if any, to the remaining real property, where appropriate.
(6) The effective date of valuation, date of appraisal, signature, and certification of the appraiser.
(b) Influence of the project on just compensation. To the extent permitted by applicable law, the appraiser shall disregard any decrease or increase in the fair market value of the real property caused by the project for which the property is to be acquired, or by the likelihood that the property would be acquired for the project, other than that due to physical deterioration within the reasonable control of the owner.
(c) Owner retention of improvements. If the owner of a real property improvement is permitted to retain it for removal from the project site, the amount to be offered for the interest in the real property to be acquired shall be not less than the difference between the amount determined to be just compensation for the owner's entire interest in the real property and the salvage value (defined at Sec. 24.2) of the retained improvement.
(d) Qualifications of appraisers. (1) The Agency shall establish criteria for determining the minimum qualifications of appraisers. Appraiser qualifications shall be consistent with the level of difficulty of the appraisal assignment. The Agency shall review the experience, education, training, and other qualifications of appraisers, including review appraisers, and utilize only those determined to be qualified.
(2) If the appraisal assignment requires the preparation of a detailed appraisal pursuant to Sec. 24.103(a), and the Agency uses a contract (fee) appraiser to perform the appraisal, such appraiser shall be certified in accordance with title XI of the Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery, and Enforcement Act of 1989 (FIRREA) (12 U.S.C. 3331 et seq.)
[57 FR 33264, July 27, 1992, as amended at 57 FR 53294, Nov. 9, 1992 (effective date December 31, 1992)]
(e) Conflict of interest. No appraiser or review appraiser shall have any interest, direct or indirect, in the real property being appraised for the Agency that would in any way conflict with the preparation or review of the appraisal. Compensation for making an appraisal shall not be based on the amount of the valuation. No appraiser shall act as a negotiator for real property which that person has appraised, except that the Agency may permit the same person to both appraise and negotiate an acquisition where the value of the acquisition is $2,500, or less.
Sec. 24.104 Review of appraisals.
The Agency shall have an appraisal review process and, at a minimum:
(a) A qualified reviewing appraiser shall examine all appraisals to assure that they meet applicable appraisal requirements and shall, prior to acceptance, seek necessary corrections or revisions.
(b) If the reviewing appraiser is unable to approve or recommend approval of an appraisal as an adequate basis for the establishment of the offer of just compensation, and it is determined that it is not practical to obtain an additional appraisal, the reviewing appraiser may develop appraisal documentation in accordance with Sec. 24.103 to support an approved or recommended value.
(c) The review appraiser's certification of the recommended or approved value of the property shall be set forth in a signed statement which identifies the appraisal reports reviewed and explains the basis for such recommendation or approval. Any damages or benefits to any remaining property shall also be identified in the statement.
Sec. 24.105 Acquisition of tenant-owned improvements.
(a) Acquisition of improvements. When acquiring any interest in real property, the Agency shall offer to acquire at least an equal interest in all buildings, structures, or other improvements located upon the real property to be acquired, which it requires to be removed or which it determines will be adversely affected by the use to which such real property will be put. This shall include any improvement of a tenant-owner who has the right or obligation to remove the improvement at the expiration of the lease term.
(b) Improvements considered to be real property. Any building, structure, or other improvement, which would be considered to be real property if owned by the owner of the real property on which it is located, shall be considered to be real property for purposes of this Subpart.
(c) Appraisal and establishment of just compensation for tenant-owned improvements. Just compensation for a tenant-owned improvement is the amount which the improvement contributes to the fair market value of the whole property or its salvage value, whichever is greater. (Salvage value is defined at Sec. 24.2.)
(d) Special conditions. No payment shall be made to a tenant-owner for any real property improvement unless:
(1) The tenant-owner, in consideration for the payment, assigns, transfers, and releases to the Agency all of the tenant-owner's right, title, and interest in the improvement; and
(2) The owner of the real property on which the improvement is located disclaims all interest in the improvement; and
(3) The payment does not result in the duplication of any compensation otherwise authorized by law.
(e) Alternative compensation. Nothing in this Subpart shall be construed to deprive the tenant-owner of any right to reject payment under this Subpart and to obtain payment for such property interests in accordance with other applicable law. [54 FR 8928, Mar. 2, 1989; 54 FR 24712, June 9, 1989]
Sec. 24.106 Expenses incidental to transfer of title to the Agency.
(a) The owner of the real property shall be reimbursed for all reasonable expenses the owner necessarily incurred for:
(1) Recording fees, transfer taxes, documentary stamps, evidence of title, boundary surveys, legal descriptions of the real property, and similar expenses incidental to conveying the real property to the Agency. However, the Agency is not required to pay costs solely required to perfect the owner's title to the real property; and
(2) Penalty costs and other charges for prepayment of any preexisting recorded mortgage entered into in good faith encumbering the real property; and
(3) The pro rata portion of any prepaid real property taxes which are allocable to the period after the Agency obtains title to the property or effective possession of it, whichever is earlier.
(b) Whenever feasible, the Agency shall pay these costs directly so that the owner will not have to pay such costs and then seek reimbursement from the Agency.
Sec. 24.107 Certain litigation expenses.
The owner of the real property shall be reimbursed for any reasonable expenses, including reasonable attorney, appraisal, and engineering fees, which the owner actually incurred because of a condemnation proceeding, if:
(a) The final judgment of the court is that the Agency cannot acquire the real property by condemnation; or
(b) The condemnation proceeding is abandoned by the Agency other than under an agreed-upon settlement; or
(c) The court having jurisdiction renders a judgment in favor of the owner in an inverse condemnation proceeding or the Agency effects a settlement of such proceeding.
Sec. 24.108 Donations.
An owner whose real property is being acquired may, after being fully informed by the Agency of the right to receive just compensation for such property, donate such property or any part thereof, any interest therein, or any compensation paid therefor, to the Agency as such owner shall determine. The Agency is responsible for assuring that an appraisal of the real property is obtained unless the owner releases the Agency from such obligation, except as provided in Sec. 24.102(c)(2).