For most people, ownership of their home or land is a major milestone – an undertaking that often requires years of planning and preparation. Once owned, our homes have years of love and memories poured into them. Most property purchases are stable and owners never have an issue with regard to their property rights. This reliability of purchase is an underlying tenant to a strong economy.
However, there are instances when governments might attempt to condemn your land or property for public use. This process is called condemnation. Governmental entities are required to follow strict procedures when condemning private property. The law of eminent domain is intended to protect the rights of property owners from lack of due process in condemnation procedures. These laws outline the steps necessary for private property acquisition and requires fair compensation to restore property owners financially in the event their holdings are declared necessary for public use.
Condemnation does not necessarily mean that your land is not suitable for its intended use. It is simply a term that is applied to land that municipalities, county, state, or federal governments are attempting to acquire. Condemnation requires that the taking of the property is necessary for the project, and the project is for public use. Public use may include highway improvement, development of public schools or libraries, utility expansion, railroads, and even commercial development. Condemnations can be partial, like in some cases of road widening, or complete, when new highways and roads are installed.
If you receive notice that your land may be condemned for public use it is imperative that you speak with an experienced eminent domain lawyer. At Coward, Hicks & Siler, our eminent domain attorneys are skilled in determining whether the government’s reasons for taking an owners property are valid. If your land is not necessary to the project, or the project can be deemed as other than for the public use and benefit, the government may not be able to take your land.
Even in those cases where the needs of the public outweigh the needs of property owners, we can ensure that you are fairly compensated. The government’s eminent domain negotiators rarely have property owners’ best interests at heart. We can negotiate fair settlement values that will restore or improve on the investment you’ve made in the stewardship of your home or land. We will fight for your rights. If you have been served with a notice of condemnation under eminent domain, let us help. We are just a consultation away.