Government Property Takings Lawyers
Eminent Domain & Property Taking Cases
Eminent domain and property takings administered by the government require a public use finding for condemnation and eminent domain rights. This means the government has the right to take your land if it is determined that the land is needed for public use. Common reasons for government property takings are to make way for public roads, stadiums, railroads, parking lots, schools, and other public developments. When the government meets sufficient public use requirements, it then has a constitutional right to condemn your property.
Although the government has the right to take your land, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees that you are paid a fair value for land seized by the government. Unfortunately, the word “fair” is highly variable and often determined by the government.
The experienced eminent domain attorneys at Potts Law Firm can help you seek the actual fair market value for your home, property, or business when your land has been seized by the government. We understand the complex laws and regulations involved in these cases and are committed to protecting your rights.
Contact Potts Law Firm today to learn more about your rights regarding government eminent domain and property takings. Call (888) 420-1299 for a free consultation.
Understanding Eminent Domain
Outlined in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, eminent domain refers to the right of local, state, and federal governments to seize private property for public use. Under eminent domain, the government agency must provide “fair” payment of compensation to the property owner. Although many government takings involve real estate property, eminent domain is not solely limited to real property.
In fact, eminent domain may apply to the following types of private property:
- Real estate
- Intellectual property
- Investment funds
Additionally, the government may seize either an entire property or part of it, temporarily or permanently.
The process of taking private property is known as “condemnation proceedings.” During condemnation proceedings, the property owner may challenge the legality of the seizure under eminent domain, as well as the fair market value offered for the property as compensation.
Rights of Property Owners in Eminent Domain Cases
Under the Fifth Amendment, property owners must be justly compensated—i.e., they must receive the fair market value in compensation for their property—in government takings. Unfortunately, property owners are not the ones who get to decide what the “fair market value” of their property is; that is left up to the government agency engaged in eminent domain.
Most often, the government entity will hire an independent appraiser to come in and assess the value of the property being expropriated. In many cases, the assessment by the independent appraiser is based on older sales and does not accurately reflect the fair market value of the property. These appraisers are often interested in simply obtaining a uniform value for all properties involved.
As the property owner involved in an eminent domain case, you have the following rights:
- The right to receive the actual fair market value of your property
- The right to contest the appraiser’s valuation of your property
- The right to challenge the validity of the expropriation under eminent domain
- The right to view the appraisal that the purchase offer is based on
- The right to be compensated for relocation costs (in certain instances)
- The right to refuse the initial purchase offer
- The right to work with an eminent domain attorney
It is important that you understand and protect your rights. Most importantly, you have the right to seek counsel from an experienced government takings attorney, like those at Potts Law Firm. An attorney will be able to further explain your rights and ensure that your best interests are protected throughout the legal process.
Can You Stop Eminent Domain?
While you have the right to take legal action against a government entity that is attempting to condemn your property under eminent domain, you should know that property owners face an uphill battle when it comes to stopping eminent domain. Generally speaking, the only way to successfully stop eminent domain is to prove that the government does not plan to use your property for a justified public use.
However, there are other instances in which you may wish to take legal action following government takings. One common reason for eminent domain legal action is the improper valuation of property and unjust compensation based on inaccurate fair market value. In other words, if you believe that the government agency has failed to offer full compensation for the fair market value of your property, you could be entitled to compensation for your damages.
Common Damages in Eminent Domain Cases
The various damages available in eminent domain matters vary from case to case. That being said, some of the most common types of damages in these cases include:
- Differences in the valuation of property based on the comparable sales
- Damages to the remainder
- Denial of access
- Highest and best use of the property
- Line of sight
- Different valuations for independent economic units
Our eminent domain attorneys at Potts Law Firm can review your case and determine whether you have grounds for a claim. We can also assess the types and value of damages you may be entitled to receive. Reach out to our firm right away to schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
There are no costs to you unless/until we win your case. For more information, call (888) 420-1299 or contact us online to get started with a complimentary case review.
Why Hire a Government Takings Attorney?
Issues involving government takings and eminent domain are very complex. If you believe that you have sustained damages, it is important that you work with an experienced attorney who can protect your rights and advocate for you against the interests of large, powerful government entities.
At Potts Law Firm, we seek to level the playing field for property owners who have suffered losses due to unjust government takings, unfair valuation of property, and other eminent domain-related issues. Our team has extensive experience representing clients in complex eminent domain cases—and we have a long history of success. Whether you wish to challenge the validity of the government’s seizure of your land, or you need help seeking the actual fair market value of your property, we are ready to help.
Request a Free Consultation with Our Eminent Domain Lawyers
With multiple locations in various states, Potts Law Firm proudly serves clients in complex government-taking and eminent domain cases nationwide. We have handled cases involving local and state governments, as well as the federal government. Our firm has the resources to aggressively pursue these claims, and we act quickly to initiate legal action.
If you are unsure if you have a case, don’t hesitate to call us today for a free consultation. Our team of experienced attorneys are ready to review your claim and fight for you.
Q:Does the government have the right to take my property for non-public use?
The government cannot typically take your property for non-public use; however, there are exceptions.
Q:Does the government have to pay me for my property?
Yes. The government is required to pay you for your property, but the valuation of your property can be contested.
Q:What are common issues property owners face with condemning authority appraisers?
The condemning authority will typically hire an independent appraiser to evaluate your property. These appraisers often have an interest in obtaining a uniform value for all of the properties, will use older sales to justify their valuations, and can be locked into sales that are not truly comparable to your property.
Q:What are damages considered non-compensable in my eminent domain case?
Things that are not compensable for your eminent domain case:
- Noise and nuisance
- Dust and debris
- Offers to purchase the property that do not end up in a sale
- Other offers to purchase other properties in the area
- Tax valuations
- Project influence
- Future value of the property
- Business income (there are very limited exclusions to this)
- Circuity of traffic
Q:Does the government have the right to take my property?
Yes. The government has the right to take your property, but only if they meet the public use requirements.
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