You may have heard the term “eminent domain” at some point. In Ohio, as well as in the rest of the United States, eminent domain allows the government the ability to take your property away.
That can happen whether you wish to sell your property or not. However, you do have some protection in that under the Fifth Amendment, the government can only seize the property if it is intended for public use.
Public use typically means a project such as a road or a bridge, for example. Under those circumstances, the government has a responsibility to compensate the owner fairly for the property.
Supreme Court decision
In 2005, the U.S. Supreme Court decided to expand the definition of public use to include private economic development. That means that local governments can condemn businesses and homes and then can transfer them to new owners if government authorities believe that the new owners will generate more taxes and more job opportunities associated with that land.
Under that definition, pretty much every property is subject to eminent domain.
In Ohio, because of the Supreme Court decision, abuse of eminent domain has become more and more widespread. A year after the law was passed; however, the Ohio Supreme Court rejected the 2005 law and argued that the constitution of Ohio does not allow the government to use eminent domain only for economic development.
There has to be more justification than pure financial gain for the state.
Additional rules regarding eminent domain
The Ohio Supreme Court took it even further and ruled that Ohio state courts must go further and apply “heightened scrutiny” as they are examining the uses that the government has for eminent domain and that the cities that are ruling on eminent domain for any given property must rule based on the situation as they are examining it, not on any potential that the property may have to be profitable.
In the eyes of the state government, the concept of eminent domain puts a tremendous strain on the property owners, whose property may be taken away from them at any time. The 2006 ruling of the Ohio Supreme Court; however, has made the situation more comfortable and there is less chance that the 2005 Supreme Court ruling will cause such widespread abuse of the rule.
Legal help for Ohio eminent domain issues
If you are having an issue with the government going after your property, the solid advice of an eminent domain Ohio attorney may make a big difference to your case. The attorney can advise you of your rights and help you to protect those rights. Attorneys can help property owners to ensure that they get the full value of their land.