Know the law regarding appraisals in an eminent domain case

On Behalf of | Apr 25, 2024 | Eminent Domain |

In Ohio, when a person is set to lose their property through eminent domain, one of the most fundamental issues they should focus on is how to maximize their compensation. While it is frequently upsetting to learn that property will be taken by government entities for public use, it is the law and is generally done only when necessary.

After getting beyond the initial shock of the determination that property needs to be taken in this process and perhaps exhausting all options to prevent it, the next step is to ensure the property owner gets everything they are entitled to. That means understanding the law as to the importance of the appraisal.

Property cannot be taken without an appraisal

The agency that strives to use eminent domain to take a property must first have the property appraised. The appraiser is expected to be objective and formulate a value based on myriad factors including looking at comparable properties, the condition of the home, how much nearby properties sold for, its size, the neighborhood, local amenities and more.

The work “objective” is key. Although an appraiser is expected to craft an evenhanded assessment, it remains partially based on opinion. Those who do not believe the appraisal is fair can contest it. According to the law, the owner must receive a copy of the appraisal commissioned by the entity that is using eminent domain to take the property.

If the appraisal says the property is worth less than $10,000, the agency is only required to provide the person who either owns, serves as the guardian or trustee of the property with a summary as to its value determination. This must be done either before or at the same time as when they make an initial offer of purchase. If it is worth less than $10,000, there can also be a waiver in which an appraisal is not necessary.

Property owners must remember their rights with eminent domain

Compensation is one of the primary aspects of eminent domain so the owner does not get taken advantage of and loses their property for less than what it is worth. With that, it is critical to have a gauge as to its value. The appraisal is meant to provide that. Still, as with any area of eminent domain law, the property owner must be protected. Knowing the entire process and their rights is a major part of that.


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