Being a property owner in Tennessee can be a source of pride and prestige. When faced with losing a property to eminent domain, it can feel like one is under attack. Some properties contain homes, businesses or contain generations of memories. When losing a property, one can feel betrayed by their own government.
When going through an emotional time, it can be difficult to separate fact from fiction. It is important to dispel any mistaken beliefs that could add confusion.
3 falsehoods about eminent domain
According to the University of North Carolina’s School of Government, here are some misbeliefs that some may have about the eminent domain:
- Eminent domain is a new phenomenon: Some erroneously believe that eminent domain is a new concept. The legal concept of eminent domain has existed in eighteenth-century British law. Governments have commonly maintained the right to compensate private landowners for public works projects that benefit society as a whole.
- Governments can pay whatever they want: The United States Constitution stipulates that “just compensation” must be given in exchange for the land. Fair market values are used to calculate the offer, so they cannot make astronomical offers just to make a deal with a property owner.
- State and local governments are not accountable: Construction projects must be authorized by legislation and a whole host of Federal agencies are often involved, such as the Department of Transportation (DOT).
There are many more misconceptions about eminent domain, but the above are some of the most common.
When fighting an eminent domain action, it can be helpful to know what legal options are available to protect your rights as a property owner. Learning more on the subject can help in deciding what the best approach may be.