Understanding Eminent Domain

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Eminent domain is the process by which states and localities have the right to condemn and force the sale of private property usually in order to serve a public purpose. Condemnation is the act of a government exercising its power of eminent domain.

The government must have both a legitimate public purpose for the taking of the property and also pay a property owner a fair market value for the land it is condemning. A legitimate public purpose can be acquisitions for roads, parks, airports and schools.

A property owner will learn their property is sought for acquisition by receiving a notice in the mail. Before bringing a eminent domain proceeding, the government is required to enter into purchase negotiations with the property owner. The property owner does not have to accept the offer.

The property owner has a right to challenge the determination of the value of the property. The valuation of the property is one of the most important parts of the case. Valuations should be made by expert appraisers. Legal counsel should also be consulted through the process.

If the property owner rejects the offer from the government, the government then files a complaint. At that point, the procedure and legal steps for an eminent domain case can be complex. It is important to consult with an attorney at the beginning of the eminent domain process to make sure your rights are fully protected and that you fully understand the process.

The Law Office of Shannon G. Starr, LLC handles eminent domain cases. To learn more, or set up a consultation, contact Shannon at shannon@sgstarrlaw.com.

Disclaimer – The content of this article is intended to be general and informational in nature. It is advertising material and is not intended to be, nor is it, legal advice to or for any particular person, case or circumstance. Every situation is different and you should consult an attorney if you have any questions about your situation.