Property owners may not be aware that the government or other entities may be able to take their private property for public use. This act falls under an area of the law called eminent domain and is intended to be used for projects that benefit the community, like roads, bridges or parks.
If the owner’s property is taken by eminent domain, they are entitled to just compensation. This means the government or other entity must pay the owner the fair market value for the property. Usually, this is determined by an appraiser and is based on where the property is located, its size and the property’s condition, among other factors.
There may be other factors that affect the valuation, including whether the building that sits on the land will need to be relocated and if the property is a business, how the taking will affect its ability to continue to operate.
Eminent domain challenges
If the property owner disagrees with the taking or the property valuation, there are options to challenge it. The property owner can discuss the issue with the government agency or entity and negotiate for a different outcome.
Also, because the taking must serve a public purpose, the property owner may be able to challenge that the taking does not qualify. They can also challenge the offer of compensation by having their own valuation completed.
It may also be helpful for the property owner to join with other neighbors or community members who can comment on the property taking.
There is help available to challenge an eminent domain taking.