When you own real estate, you must be aware of what eminent domain stands for. Eminent domain is directly connected to real estate. It pertains to how the government can take over private property. The state can outright take away the property or do things that put your property in jeopardy and more prone towards being acquired easily by the government. This 2 type of approaches toward acquiring property is what draws the line between eminent domain and inverse condemnation.
For long, it has been one of the aspects of the power of the government to force sale or take private property for its use. Also called condemnation eminent domain is the power of local / federal government where the government agencies have to pay an obligatory compensation to the owners of the property. It is the constitution of the United States that obliges the government to do so.
Eminent domain can be challenged by the property owners in rare cases where they make a strong case if the acquisition does not seem viable under the statutory or constitutional law. But it is also rare that such cases succeed. The government has been able to get away with this by broadly interpreting their acquisition under the title of ‘public use’.
Eminent domain is generally granted for major corporations like oil and gas companies that are in need of major pieces of land. It could also be the redevelopment authorities or the railroads authorities that need land for constructing various projects, generally for the public use.
The process of eminent domain goes somewhat like this:
First the property to be acquired is identified by the public authorities. These government agencies are also called condemners who apprise and brief the owners of the private property about eminent domain and that their property is needed for ‘public use’, a broad term.
An offer of purchase is made to the property owners. Negotiations may happen at this stage. And if the condemners are not successful in settling the matter then go for a suit for acquisition under the power of Eminent Domain. The property owners are also made aware of the compensation they would get under the domain.
Once the suit is filed, a civil jury or sitting judge would evaluate the property and decide on a just-compensation to be paid to the property owners. This compensation is kept in level with the loss being incurred by the property owner, along with possible property damages.
Loss of business, probable profits and the goodwill of the property are also accounted when deciding the just compensation. This is only prevalent in some states across the country, along with the recovery of lawyer feed and the defense costs and appraisal.
When it comes to eminent domain, not all states have the same laws. This government power certainly puts a property owner’s rights in jeopardy, which is why consulting with an expert is an ideal step towards safeguarding your interests and gaining a just compensation.