Steps of Eminent Domain

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What Are The Steps The Government Must Take for Eminent Domain?

The steps a government agency must take to obtain your property through a case of eminent domain is usually determined through statutes in your state.

When a government agency is interested in obtaining your property through eminent domain, they will:

Once the appraisal is complete, you will be provided with a copy of the appraisal and an offer will be made to purchase your property.

What Occurs after an Offer Is Made for My Property?

After an offer is made, a public hearing is held for the agency to explain why your property must be taken. Usually, the agency will have to show that:

You are also free to challenge the taking at this hearing.

Once the Hearing Is Complete, What Will Happen Next?

After showing that your property is necessary for a public project, an eminent domain case will be filed in court. Through a court proceeding, you can be sure to obtain the best possible price for your property:

When Will I Get Paid?

Once a settlement is reached, or a jury comes to a decision, the government agency will have to pay you within 30 days. At this time, title to your property will be transferred to the government.

What Is Public Use?

The government is only suppose to take property if the property is used to serve the needs of the public. The most common example is highways or roads. Schools may also be considered.

In recent decades, however, there has been a shift in the meaning of “public use.” In 2005, the federal Supreme Court expanded the definition of “public use” to include private companies, such as oil companies, gas companies, and retail giants. This shift has not been without controversial.

What Federal Protections Do I Have Against Eminent Domain?

In 2006, President Bush signed an executive order to prevent the federal government from abusing eminent domain by taking from one private party to give to another private party.

Congress has not successfully passed a law reversing the Supreme Court’s decision. Several bills have been introduced, but most of them failed to even reach a vote since the bills often lacked the necessary tools to enforced the bill.

What State Protections Do I Have Against Eminent Domain?

The following states have state courts that have prohibited or limited the use of eminent domain for private gain:

The following states have amended their state constitutions to forbid or limit the use of eminent domain for private gain:

The following states have state laws which forbid or limit the use of eminent domain for private gain: 

Do I Need an Eminent Domain Lawyer?

If you are contacted by a government agency that wants to take your property, an experienced eminent domain attorney can help ensure your rights are protected. A lawyer can help you obtain an accurate appraisal and represent you in reaching a settlement or guiding your case through a trial.

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Last Modified: 12-08-2015 02:47 PM PST

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