Property owners have numerous and substantial rights over their property. But these rights may run into the government’s power to take your property through eminent domain. Ohio law governs the state’s power and your rights.

Eminent domain

Federal and local governments and the State of Ohio make take private property for public use through eminent domain. These rights are spelled out in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Bill of Rights and the Ohio state constitution.

Compensation

Government must pay just compensation for taking property through eminent domain. Ohio law defines just compensation as the property’s fair market value.

This amount is based on the proceeds of the voluntary market sale of the property. Fair market value is the price that a purchaser would be willing to pay and that the seller would accept if they were both fully aware of the property’s value and use. For the purchaser, these considerations include the property’s location, surrounding area, general condition, improvements, and anything that adds or takes away from the property’s value.

Property owners may be entitled to damages added to the property’s fair market value if only part of the property is taken.  Damages may be the loss in value of the remaining property because it was severed from the property that the government took.

Challenging compensation

The Ohio constitution empowers property owners to ask a jury to assess the amount of compensation. If the state and the property owner cannot agree on the compensation amount, the state will file an appropriate action lawsuit. A jury trial will be held to determine the compensation.

An attorney can provide options on challenging eminent domain and seeking compensation. Lawyers can help assure that your rights are protected in these complex cases.