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Frequently asked questions regarding eminent domain

The Fifth Amendment gives the government the right to take private land for public use with fair compensation. This is what is known as eminent domain.

 

Why might the government take my land?

If the government intends to purchase your property under eminent domain, they must do so with the intention of converting that land into something that will benefit the public. This can include any of the following and more:

  • Government buildings
  • Park expansions
  • Roads
  • Bridges
  • Hotels
  • Condos
  • Shopping malls
  • Hospitals

Regardless of the government project, it must be a conversion that is advantageous in some way to the public.

Is eminent domain always permanent?

When the government purchases your private property, it is known as “taking.” There are three different categories of taking when it comes to eminent domain. Depending on what category you fall under will determine if it is a permanent situation.

A complete taking means that the government will permanently purchase your entire property. A partial taking means that the government will only purchase part of your property. Finally, a temporary taking is when the government only needs your property for a certain period of time.

Can I refuse to sell?

Even though the government should fairly compensate you for your property, you may not feel inclined to give it up. You should know that as a land or property owner, you have rights under eminent domain laws.

Under those rights, you may challenge the government’s taking of your property. However, the government can file a court action against you. As long as they can prove that they tried to negotiate a fair price with you, and that the land would be put towards public use, they will likely have a strong case against you unless you can offer evidence that suggests otherwise.

Get your questions answered today

Surely, if you received a notice of intent to acquire from the government under eminent domain laws, you have endless questions. Seeking legal assistance can be beneficial during this time so that you can gain a better understanding of the situation and know what rights you have as a land or property owner.

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