Ohio agencies must follow the law when using eminent domain

On Behalf of | Dec 8, 2023 | Firm News |

Both the Ohio and federal constitutions give government agencies in this state the power to take private property to put it to public use. This is the power of eminent domain.

Subject to certain exceptions, a private property owner in the Toledo area is not able to hold out on a government body by not selling land the government needs for its purposes.

However, if the government wants to take private property by using eminent domain, it must follow all legal processes and procedures.

Importantly, the government must pay the property owner what the law calls “just compensation” for the owner’s property.

Just compensation is equal to fair market value, that is, what a typical seller would accept from a willing buyer not under any unusual pressure to buy.

When the government only takes a portion of a landowner’s property, the landowner also receives compensation for any lost value of the property they got to keep.

Ohio landowners may ask a jury what compensation for their land is just

If a property owner cannot agree with the government on a sale price, then the parties can have an Ohio jury decide the amount of just compensation.

The risk in asking for a jury to decide how much a landowner should receive is that the property owner may wind up getting less than what the government offered to pay but must still pay for the costs of going to court.

On the other hand, government bodies do too often lowball landowners to save money.

Asking for a jury trial on the value of the land can lead to compensation that is several times what the government offers. Doing so may also pressure on an agency to offer a favorable settlement.

If a government body informs a Toledo landowner that it wants to take that resident’s property, the landowner should make sure they understand their rights and options.

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