The Eminent Domain Process – What to Expect
The eminent domain process can be complex and an outright burden upon business or property owners. The laws and procedures governing the use of eminent domain differ from state to state. However, there are typical steps that occur during the condemnation process.
In the initial stage of the eminent domain process, the project is announced to the public. During this time, the project route is evaluated, environmental studies are conducted, and public meetings are held.
Alternative routes are analyzed and ultimately a final route is determined. During the preliminary phases of a project’s design, the government or agency planning the project may also conduct property surveys and appraisals.
Once the government or its agents determines the parcels of land needed to complete the project, property owners are contacted and presented with an offer for the purchase of the portion of their property needed for the project. The property needed could include a temporary easement or permanent easement, a portion of the property or, in some instances, the entire property may be required to construct the project.
Following an Offer to Purchase Land
- If the property owner agrees with the sale and price, then the government issues payment and the landowner gives up the deed.
- If the property owner does not agree with the amount offered, he may make a counter-offer. The property owner may also choose to hire an attorney to negotiate the fair market value of his property.
- If an agreement cannot be met, the property will be “taken” by condemnation. To take the property, the government or agency will file a lawsuit asking the court to grant the government or agency ownership of the property. The government must demonstrate that it engaged in good faith negotiations to purchase the property, but that no agreement was reached. The government must also demonstrate that the taking of the property is for a public use.
- If the court grants the government ownership of the necessary property, an appraiser or panel of commissioners will establish the fair market value of the property and the owner will be paid just compensation for the loss of his property. In most cases, either side may appeal the award of compensation. If appealed, a trial is conducted to determine just compensation.
*Remember that each state has specific intricacies under eminent domain law. This information is a generalized outline of the process and does not represent any particular instance or case.
The Krause and Kinsman Law Firm represents clients whose property is threatened by eminent domain. We will fight for your property rights and, if necessary, go to trial to secure the just compensation for the loss of your home or business. Contact Krause & Kinsman today at (844) 212-3370 to learn more about your property rights.