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Understanding your rights when the government threatens to take your land - III

In a series of ongoing posts, we've been discussing the always controversial issue of eminent domain, meaning those emotionally-charged situations in which people learn that a governmental entity here in Georgia wants to acquire their property for use in a public project.

Specifically, our last post on this topic looked at the multiple avenues available to landowners to contest the taking of their land. We'll continue this discussion in today's post, examining the compensation to which affected landowners are entitled under state law.

As embittering as the thought of losing some or all of your property may be, it's imperative to understand that the Georgia Constitution expressly dictates that private landowners whose property is condemned by state officials are entitled to just and adequate compensation.

The amount that is considered "just and adequate" is fair market value.

For those unfamiliar with the exact meaning of this term, it is essentially the price that a buyer, who is not subject to any obligations, would pay to a seller, who is not required to sell. Fair market value also considers such important factors as the prices of similarly situated real estate and/or the uses of the property.

If the entirety of a person's real property is condemned and they are displaced as a result, state law dictates that they may also be able to secure relocation costs, as well as any actual direct losses sustained by having to move farming operations or a business from the property.

Similarly, state law dictates that if only a portion of a person's real property is condemned, they may also be able to secure what are known as consequential damages, meaning compensation for any reduction in the value of the retained property caused by the condemnation.

We'll continue to explore this topic in future posts, exploring the selection of and role played by assessors.

Please consider speaking with an experienced legal professional as soon as possible to learn more about your rights and the preservation of your options if state officials have attempted to condemn your property.

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Miles Hansford & Tallant, LLC
202 Tribble Gap Road Suite 200
Cumming, GA 30040

Phone: 770-744-1111
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