If you are an Ohio property or business owner, you are probably familiar with the general concept of eminent domain, which allows the government to take your private land for public use, in exchange for paying you compensation. Generally, the government may not take your land until a court has determined the amount of compensation that you are owed, and the government has paid you that compensation.
However, it may come as a surprise to learn that there are situations where the government may legally take your land before paying you full compensation. In eminent domain law, this is known as quick take. This can be distressing to property owners who justifiably fear losing their land or property with little notice.
There must be a legitimate reason for the quick take
Eminent domain matters involving quick takes are uncommon. The government must justify the reason for taking the private land without paying compensation. The reason may involve an emergency or unexpected situation. A road construction project is a more common reason. Many construction projects have tight deadlines, and a person’s land may need to be taken to begin construction as soon as possible.
In a quick take situation, the government can pay a deposit to the court and start the process of taking your land, eventually paying you full compensation. You may file a motion for distribution to obtain the deposit. Your motion must state that you own the property and list any other individuals who may have an interest in the property, such as a mortgage company.
Protecting your property rights
The government entity attempting to assert eminent domain through the quick take process should only be doing it for valid reasons, and in circumstances where a quick take is truly necessary. Unfortunately, sometimes quick take applications are submitted for unconstitutional purposes. Legal professionals are valuable resources for property owners looking for advice and guidance on their legal rights under eminent domain law.