Eminent domain might sound like an unusual law in Ohio and throughout the United States. People are under the impression that property ownership rights are one of the foundational aspects in the nation. However, federal, state and local governments have the right to take a person’s property for public use. Property owners can try and fight the attempt, but if it reaches a point where there are no remaining alternatives, they will need to surrender the property. According to the law, people are entitled to “just compensation.” Understanding what that means is imperative and could be cause for dispute.
Handling disagreements over fair market value
Based on the law, the government must provide the land owner with just compensation based on fair market value of the property. If the property owner were to sell it of his or own accord, the market dictates what would be deemed reasonable as a sale price. There are no requirements for a sale price, but it is based on what a potential purchaser is willing to pay and what the seller is willing to sell the property for. If the government deviates from this template, then the owner could lodge a dispute at the amount to be paid.
As with any property purchase, there are other factors that are part of the equation. The location, its condition, the area, if improvements are needed and more could reduce what the property is worth when it is on the market. In some instances, the government only needs a portion of the property. The owner will be entitled to fair compensation for that too. The law gives a property owner the right to dispute what is offered by the government. It is possible for the sides to negotiate and come to a resolution. If that is not fruitful, then there can be a lawsuit in which a jury will decide how much the property owner is entitled to.
Property owners should be protected in an eminent domain case
Eminent domain can be complicated and confusing. Whether a property owner is trying to fight the government’s right to take the property, is worried about receiving just compensation or has other issues about which he or she is concerned, it is imperative to know the available options. Before caving to the pressure exerted by the entities trying to exercise eminent domain and potentially making costly mistakes, it is useful to have professional help. Consulting with those experienced in the law regarding these difficult issues can be key to a positive outcome.