Answers to 5 Frequently Asked Questions about Eminent Domain
Landowners across the country are adversely affected by eminent domain every year. There are a few questions that property owners facing the loss of property due to eminent domain generally ask.
5 Frequently Asked Questions about Eminent Domain
Q. What is eminent domain?
A. Eminent domain, also known as “condemnation,” is the power held by the government, governmental agencies and some private corporations, such as utility and energy companies, to take possession of private property for public use. The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution includes a provision known as the Takings Clause, which states that “private property [shall not] be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Read more about the eminent domain process here.
Q. Can the government take my private property by eminent domain for any reason?
A. No. Under eminent domain law, the government only has the authority to take property for a legitimate public use. This means property can be taken to expand a highway or airport, build a school, construct a community park, create a new pipeline route, or to provide enhanced utilities, among other purposes.
Q. Can I stop the government from taking my property?
A. In some cases, the condemnation of private property can be stopped if the landowner proves that the proposed taking does not meet the legal requirements for public necessity or that the condemning authority has not met its procedural requirements. A knowledgeable and skilled eminent domain attorney can assist you in challenging the government’s authority to acquire your property.
Q. Should I accept the initial offer given to me, since the government is obligated to pay fair market value for my property?
A. Fair market value may vary dramatically depending upon the highest and best use of your property and other characteristics that may be unique to your property. Keep in mind that the condemning authority’s opinion of just compensation could be at the lower end of market rates.
Q. If I receive a condemnation notice, does that mean that the government has already taken my property?
A. Often the notice alerts landowners that the property will be taken through the power of eminent domain giving the landowner some time, but often not much time, to prepare for the next steps in the process. If you have received a condemnation notice, contact us to learn more about your rights and how we can help you. The sooner you have a qualified eminent domain lawyer on your side, the better.
Contact Krause and Kinsman Today
At Krause and Kinsman, we understand that your home or business may be your largest asset. We represent families, businesses, farms, and other landowners in eminent domain matters. Regardless of whether your property is residential, commercial, agricultural or other special-use property, we approach the case the same way: analyze the situation, create a plan and fully execute. Our attorneys stand ready to vigorously pursue every aspect of your case and guide you through the entire process.
Note: The content of this website is for general purposes only. These informational materials are not intended, and must not be taken, as legal advice on any particular set of facts or circumstances. Please consult a condemnation lawyer at Krause and Kinsman for advice about your individual situation. Feel free to get in touch with us via phone, email, or live chat.