Eminent domain: What does it mean for you?

On Behalf of | Feb 8, 2022 | Residential Real Estate Transactions |

In the United States, governments have the authority to take private land if it’s being used for public use. This doesn’t mean that the property owner just has to accept what’s going on. They’re entitled to be fairly compensated for the property, and this sometimes causes a problem.

There are instances in which the property owner won’t agree with the government about what compensation is due. This can trigger a legal process that isn’t necessarily aimed at stopping the government from taking the land but is meant to get the landowner a fair price for it.

How does eminent domain work?

When the government decides to start a project, such as building a new road, it will look into what land it needs to get the project done. It will have the parcels appraised. Once the appraisal is finished, someone will reach out to the landowner with a price for the property. The property owner can attempt to negotiate a better price.

It’s sometimes impossible for the landowner and the government to agree on a price. The landowner can take legal action to either get a better price or to challenge the government’s need for the property. It’s then up to the court to determine what will happen. They may opt to compensate the landowner or issue an injunction preventing the government from taking the land.  

A landowner who finds out that the government is trying to claim their property through eminent domain should ensure they learn about their options for handling the situation. It is important to seek support as quickly as possible when you find out the process is starting.