Eminent domain can be of concern to property owners impacted by it. Eminent domain is a process commonly used by the government to condemn property for a public purpose. For that reason, it is helpful for property owners to be familiar with the ins and outs of eminent domain.
Eminent domain basics
Federal, state and local governments can exercise the eminent domain process that allows them to take private property and use it for public use. When a property owner’s property is taken under eminent domain, there is a process that must be followed and they have certain rights.
Governments that take private property for public use are required under the law to pay just compensation for the property being condemned for the public use. Property owners may wonder what just compensation means they should receive. Just compensation, in Ohio and elsewhere, is defined as the fair market value of the property. Property owners are entitled to the amount of money they would have received had they voluntarily placed their property for sale on the market.
To help determine the fair market value of the property, a standard is used that looks at what a buyer would pay if they were fully informed and aware of the value and use of the property. This can include all elements a potential buyer may consider before making a purchase of the property such as the location, surrounding area, quality and general condition of the premises, improvements to the property and premises and conditions that may add or detract from the value of the property.
In circumstances when only a part of the property is taken, the property owner may be able to receive damages on top of the fair market value of the property taken. Additionally, if the government, such as the state, and the property owner are unable to agree on just compensation, or the fair market value, a jury may be asked to decide in a lawsuit brought by the government. Property owners may be able to dispute the amount of compensation being offered them. Eminent domain can be complex which is why it is helpful for property owners to be familiar with property laws and how they can provide relief for them.