1 mai 2011

Fall of property price by 62,5 % due to an administrative measure is not protected by the right to property, Antunes v Portugal, 18070/08

5 of 7 judges majority interpreted that the right of property does not guarantee any right to a compensation when the value of property falls by 62,5 % (from € 200 000 to 75 000) due to an administrative measure. Fernando Antunes Rodrigues got an authorization to build a commercial building at the national highway, but later absolutely the same Portuguese administration decided to reconstruct the highway in such a manner that this commercial building lost the access to the highway.

Antunes Rodrigues argued that the right to access to the highway was a real right covered by the right to property, that the authorization to construct the commercial building had created legitimate expectations that he would be able to exploit this building, that he hadn’t receive any compensation from the State, that he had suffered from a special and excessive costs (fall of 62,5 % of property price), that he could not continue his business anymore. The ECHR replied:

1)The State has a large margin of appraisal in the field of territory arrangement, such as modernization of roads, since a large margin was already recognized for a destruction of a private house on a public territory, for the domain of forests, and for the protection of archeology (§ 32).
2) 62,5 % of price fall and the end of business are not a “special and abnormal” damage, but a normal commercial risk (§ 34).
3) Due to the balance of interests, Antunes Rodrigues could not expect to get an automatic compensation (§ 35).
4) Nothing proves that the judgment of the Supreme Administrative Court of Portugal was “arbitrary or obviously unreasonable” (§ 36).
5) The fall of market value of property is not sufficient as such, in the absence of other elements, for arguing an intervention into the right of property (§ 37).

The Portuguese judge voted against Antunes Rodrigues.

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