Absent owner references guidance for Lands Chamber
When land of an owner who is absent, unknown or untraceable has been acquired under a compulsory purchase order the acquiring authority is obliged to pay compensation into court in case the owner appears later. The Lands Chamber can determine the amount payable.
Form AO should be completed and 2 copies of it and all the required plans and other documents filed with the Tribunal. There is a fee of £500 plus valuation fees of £420 for London Boroughs and £360 for all other areas, payable to HM Courts & Tribunals.
If the land was acquired by a general vesting declaration, then the absent owner procedure is not available (due to legislative constraint). In such a case you need to make a standard reference. So you must file 2 copies of a notice of reference using Form Ref (Authority) and enclosing all of the required plans and other documents. A fee of £250 payable to the "Tribunals Service" (not the Lands Chamber) must be paid on filing the reference. You will also need to provide a statement about your attempts to trace the missing owner, and apply to the Registrar to dispense with service on the owner (see rule 14). You will need to file an expert witness report providing a valuation of the property, so please check our Rules and Practice Directions for requirements for expert reports.