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Can the government take your land?

What happens if you’re approached by the government about selling your property so they can build on it? It’s understandable if you would feel intimidated. The process of the government acquiring private land for public use is known as eminent domain and has been around for over 100 years in Ohio.

A recent example

An Ohio court recently awarded the Ohio History Connection the lease to historical Native American land that was surrounding a golf course using the eminent domain law. The group and the country club that owned the golf course previously tried to reach an agreement but failed, which led to the court’s ruling. The country club will appeal the judge’s ruling.

You have rights when it comes to your land

If you’re concerned that the government can swoop in and claim eminent domain on your property, you shouldn’t worry. The U.S. Constitution forbids the government from taking private land for public use without compensation.

The Ohio Constitution explicitly says that the government must compensate you for your land. Furthermore, if you and the government disagree on the amount of your compensation, they will file a lawsuit against you. While the government suing you sounds scary, a lawsuit forces a jury trial to determine what is fair to you. Having an impartial third-party like a jury can help level the playing field between you and the government.

Both the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions were written with you, the civilian, in mind to protect you from the government bullying you out of your property. The law entitles you to both monetary compensation for your land and due process as well.

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