What are the Ohio policy rules for eminent domain acquisition?

On Behalf of | Jan 10, 2022 | Eminent Domain |

In Ohio, eminent domain is a source of concern for many property owners who function under the impression that the foundation of the United States is based on individual determination and the right to own property. With this law, the owner might suddenly face an attempt by the state to take that property. It might sound contradictory, but it is legal. Still, owners do have certain rights in these cases. When the government tries to exercise its right to eminent domain, there are policies under the law that it must adhere to try and smooth the process. Even if a property owner is not opposed to surrendering the property if there is just compensation, it is vital to be fully aware of these policy rules.

Key points about state policy for acquiring land through eminent domain

Contrary to what property owners might think, the state does not want people to feel aggrieved if they are subject to eminent domain. There will be an evenhanded attempt to complete the process without extended dispute. Property owners have the right to negotiate a deal they deem fair and the agency that is acquiring the property is legally obligated to make a concerted effort to engage in that type of negotiation. The property cannot be taken without giving a reason. If, for example, there is a road expansion that needs that property, then the owner must be informed of this and it must be completed in a reasonable time-frame.

Regarding its value, there should be an appraisal prior to the start of negotiations. The owner can have a representative present during the inspection who will be with the appraiser as it takes place. Prior to negotiation, the head of the agency that is trying to take the property will know an amount for which the property will be purchased. The compensation must be fair and reasonable based on the appraisal and the offer must be made for that amount and no less. This should be in writing. The owner does not need to accept the offer immediately. There will be a chance to think about the offer, provide proof that may be relevant for its accurate appraisal and suggest changes to the offer to meet the owner’s expectations.

There may be changes to the property from the time of the appraisal is done and a new appraisal could be required. This will happen if there is a time difference of more than two years from the appraisal. It will be updated and reappraised. The owner does not need to surrender the property until the payment is made or there is a deposit made with the court. Since many of these properties will be subject to construction once the state agency has acquired it, it can be important for the property owner to know when he or she must move. The scheduling of the project cannot start until the person has had at least 90 days’ written notice as to when to move. Some situations allow the property owner to rent the property until it is time to move. The rental payments must be for a fair amount based on the market value.

With property cases with the state, it is imperative to be fully protected

Often, eminent domain is categorized as a fight between a property owner and the intrusive state trying to take what does not belong to them. This may be slightly melodramatic. Many people are perfectly willing to move, but they need to make certain that they get what they are entitled to. The policies for acquiring land in this way are extensive and might be confusing. For assistance with any challenge that might arise and to get what the law says the property owner is supposed to get based on the law, it is wise to have legal protection from the outset.