Federal Uniform Relocation Act (URA) Services

Real Estate Relocation Services

This Act was a series of provisions codified in 1971 to ensure fair treatment of those displaced by federally funded programs, federally assisted programs or state and local agencies receiving federal funds. It was intended to make federal efforts to compensate these persons subjected to federal eminent domain efforts standard and uniform.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) may fund some of these displacement projects. That Department lists the Act's essential objectives as follows:

. to provide uniform, fair and equitable treatment of persons whose real property is acquired or who are displaced in connection with federally funded projects;
. to ensure relocation assistance is provided to displaced persons to lessen the emotional and financial impact of displacement;
. to ensure that no individual or family is displaced unless decent, safe and sanitary housing is available within the displaced person's financial means;
. to help improve the housing conditions of displaced persons living in substandard housing;
. to encourage and expedite acquisition by agreement and without coercion.

To be an eligible "displaced person," the Act sets forth factors for qualification:

If one moves from real property, or moves personal property from their real property as a result of a written notice of intent to acquire, the initiation of negotiations for, or the acquisition of, the real property, in whole or in part, due to a federally funded program or one with federal assistance; or on which such person is a residential tenant or conducts a small business, farm operation, or a business as a direct result of rehabilitation, demolition, or other displacing activity, as the lead agency may prescribe, under a program or project undertaken by a federal agency or with federal financial assistance in any case in which the head of the displacing agency determines that the displacement is permanent.

Once found to be eligible under the URA, such a displaced person can receive a range of benefits, or compensation types. Importantly, instead of merely "market value," many property owners can obtain "replacement value" for their original property.

The URA endeavors to achieve this replacement value through providing the displacees with actual moving expenses, including mortgage and closing costs. Subsidizing displacees under the URA can be very beneficial in some cases, to the extent that the Act will provide an owner with an improved living situation.