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Steps to take if threatened with eminent domain

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution gives federal, state and local governments the right to take private property for public use by providing the owner with “just compensation” for their property. Fighting eminent domain proceedings is challenging, but homeowners still have rights.

Property owners can argue that the taking of their land is not in the best interests of the public or that the compensation they are offered does not meet the “fair market value” promised under Ohio law.

Three important responses if you face eminent domain

As the property owner, it’s crucial that you understand the process of eminent domain and the steps you can take, including:

  • Consult with an attorney: Property owners are notified that their land is subject to eminent domain proceedings by many methods, including through the mail, an in-person notification or a phone call. Once notified, it’s essential to contact an Ohio attorney who specializes in eminent domain law and can navigate the complicated process.
  • Get a second opinion: The government will have your land valued by an appraiser it chooses to determine “just compensation.” However, it’s a good idea to get a second valuation performed by an appraiser of your choosing.
  • Respond to the government’s offer: Once the government makes an offer to buy your land, you can accept, make a counteroffer or fight the action entirely. If you accept, the process can move quickly, while rejecting the offer or fighting the proceeding can become a costly and lengthy legal battle.

Know the law and seek legal help

Landowners facing eminent domain proceedings can seek legal advice from an experienced eminent domain lawyer here in Ohio who can challenge the government’s decision to take your land, and work to see that you receive fair and appropriate compensation. A knowledgeable legal professional will also fight for your right to be adequately compensated for any damages to the remainder of your property caused by eminent domain seizure.

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