Eminent Domain: How Does It Affect Your Private Property?
The government’s right to take over private property for public use is limited by a clause in the Fifth Amendment to the constitution. The government must give the private property owner ‘just compensation’ in return. The owner loses the right to deny in case of Eminent domain private property. The private property owner will feel utterly helpless in this situation as he must have toiled all his life to build his private property and stands to lose it.Eminent domain and the definition of the word “public use” has been a highly debated topic for years. If the taking is for a public use such as widening of the highway etc, it stands to be acceptable. But in the name of eminent domain, many private institutions have been allowed to take over private property for redevelopment projects.
Opposing an eminent domain is a tough fought battle. You must give it your best nevertheless. The first thing you must do is to consult a reputed eminent domain attorney.
Consulting an Attorney
In order to protect yourself and your property from uncertain legal actions, you must consult a reputed eminent domain lawyer if you have reason to believe that your property could be taken for public use. The attorney is well versed with the provisions of the law pertaining to eminent domain and can guide you properly.
The government is supposed to provide you with a ‘just compensation’ in return for the property it is taking from you. Just compensation is the amount of money which should make up for the loss suffered due to losing the property.
Understanding the Easement
When a private property or a part is to be taken over by the government it is written as an easement document. The owner should make sure to read the easement conditions thoroughly and understand them well. The chance of missing the fine print and suffering down the line is a distinct possibility.
The easement is written by the attorneys of the condemning authority. The easement will likely be written with conditions most favorable to them. You must take it to your eminent domain attorney and let him review it to ensure that your interests are safeguarded and the taking over of the property is done fairly.
Aim for Higher Compensation or Fight
It is up to you whether you accept the first offer of just compensation by the government. Accepting the offer does end the process quickly and smoothly but you should make sure that the offer is fair and will not cause you any difficulties later on. Consulting the professionals to ascertain the fairness of the deal is highly recommended.
If as a private property owner you receive any communication that your property is being taken over under eminent domain, you must consult eminent domain lawyers and take their advice as, in most cases the private property owners are not competent enough in these matters and can make mistakes. The eminent domain attorney, on the other hand, has a thorough knowledge of the rules and provisions. He will help in negotiating a better compensation or in case you decide to go for litigation, he can represent you.