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What is “just compensation” for my property?

On Behalf of | Jun 23, 2021 | Eminent Domain |

Eminent domain is a touchy subject for many people in Tennessee. The idea of the government coming in and taking your family home and property to make way for “progress”, is never a pleasant thought.  

Yes, we need to build highways, bridges, and other infrastructure as population increases and demand increases, but why do they have to take your home? Maybe a home that has been in the family for several generations.  

Though it may seem like a crazy concept to lose your family home for the expansion of a freeway, the US constitution allows for it. The fifth amendment states that no private property can be taken for public use without just compensation.  

Meaning the government can take your property but they have to pay you a fair sum for it. 

But what is a fair sum and who determines the value of your property? 

The value of your property is determined by its size, accessibility, zoning, unique characteristics, level of development and current or potential use. This value does not include external factors like your time, moving expenses and emotional loss from separating from your family home and neighborhood.  

Those factors are sometimes unquantifiable and that is why you should gather the following professionals to assist you in an eminent domain case: an appraiser and an attorney. You rarely want to accept the government’s initial offer unless you feel that it is more than fair. The job of the appraiser will be to give an independent valuation of your home separate from the appraisal conducted by the United States government.  

The job of the attorney will not only be to handle all of your court proceedings and filings but to argue for the intangibles and hard to quantify costs as well. Eminent domain cases are never pleasant and there may be a lot of emotion tied up into losing a family home. That is why you should seek a rational legal mind to help you through the process.