Eminent domain: what are residue damages?

On Behalf of | Dec 14, 2021 | Eminent Domain |

The government’s power to exercise its authority of eminent domain is not something people give a lot of thought – until they have to. When your property is subject to being taken, you’ll have a lot of questions. And when only a part of your property is at issue, residue damages may be an issue.

Eminent domain and partial takings

Both the federal government and state authorities have the ability to take private property through eminent domain. Most people think this means that all of the owner’s property will be taken, but this isn’t always the case. Instead, it’s often the situation that the government only needs a portion of certain property to serve its needs.

Whether eminent domain results in a full or partial taking, the owner is entitled to be justly compensated for the loss of their property. In the case of a partial taking, this means the owner is generally compensated for the difference in value of the property before and after the taking. The property which remains with the owner is called the residue. And sometimes the financial loss suffered is not easily calculated based on the simple face value of the property.

Residue damages are those which occur beyond the fair market value of the property. For example, let’s say a homeowner loses a portion of their property so that a public building may be constructed. The new building won’t directly affect the value of the home itself or the remaining land, other than the difference in value from the previous total. But what if the taken land was also the only way the owner could access their local road? They have now suffered damages beyond a change in value of the property and must be compensated in some way.

Partial takings and residue damages add to what is already a complicated process in eminent domain law. Each set of circumstances is unique and must be analyzed independently. Seek the assistance of an experienced professional to help guide you and find answers to your questions.