Determining compensation for property taken by eminent domain

| Apr 1, 2021 | Eminent Domain |

There are many people in Ohio who own land and homes. When they purchase the land or receive it through an inheritance, they generally have complete control over it. They can do what they want with the land or the home. For the most part they also are in control over when they may sell the property. However, this is not always the case. There are certain situations when the government can take the property for certain public reasons.

They do this through a process called eminent domain. The government is allowed to do this if the property is taken for a public use such as repairing, creating or expanding a public road for anyone’s use. The government does need to compensate the property owner though. They cannot simply take it and leave the property owner with nothing. The law says that the government must provide reasonable compensation.

What is reasonable compensation?

Reasonable compensation means the fair market value of the property. This means the amount of money that the property owner would be able to receive if they voluntarily sold the property at the time of the eminent domain action. It will take into account the neighborhood, the condition of the property or premises, improvements made to the property and other factors to determine what a buyer would be willing to pay for it.

If the property owner does not believe the offer is the fair market value, they can challenge it. If they do, there will be a jury trial to determine the fair market value.

There are many different public projects that the government in Ohio undertakes each year. These projects require the use of land throughout the state. Even if the property is owned by a private owner, the government can still take the property they need. However, this can only be done for the public benefit and they must compensate the owner. This can lead to disputes though and property owners can challenge the reason for the taking in addition to the amount of the compensation. These are complicated matters and consulting with experienced attorneys could be beneficial.