Any property owner who becomes the target of eminent domain will have questions about that power and their own rights. The eminent domain process can be complicated and difficult to navigate, and there are many terms with which you won’t be familiar. One of those is inverse condemnation.
Eminent domain vs. condemnation
Eminent domain is the authority of both federal and state governments to take property for public use. The authority is granted by both the U.S. and Ohio Constitutions and extends all the way down to local municipalities. None of these governments require permission to take private property but they must provide the property owner with just compensation when they exercise their eminent domain authority.
While eminent domain refers to the authority to take property, condemnation refers to the process by which that authority is exercised. Condemnation is the actual taking of the property, which may be a full or partial taking and either a physical taking or only a regulatory taking.
Governments are allowed to regulate private property to a certain extent, such as by exercising their taxing or zoning powers. But when regulations become so severe as to diminish the property’s value, it can rise to the level of a taking. Although the government has not physically taken the property, it has effectively taken it, or condemned it. When this occurs, it is referred to as inverse condemnation.
Actual condemnations can also lead to an inverse condemnation. An agency may exercise its eminent domain authority over part of a property, rather than the whole. If, however, the partial taking leads to a diminution in value of the remaining property, inverse condemnation of the remaining property may be the result.