Under the doctrine of eminent domain, there are circumstances where the government can take your property without your consent. Thankfully, it’s not as easy as simply turning up and taking it. There is a legal process that needs to be followed and it needs to prove that the land is needed for use by the public.
But, what does that mean and how is it justified that your private land should be used by the public? Here are the justifications:
1. It’s needed for public works
Public works projects are those that it’s said will benefit the public greatly. It includes the building of the following:
- Police and fire stations
2. Private developers want it
How does a private developer wanting the land fall under the doctrine of eminent domain?
The developer will have to be able to show that the development is for the benefit of the community in some way. This justification is used sparingly, however, as it’s not the purpose for which private land should be able to be acquired under eminent domain
3. Utility companies need it
Where people need access to utilities, companies need to be able to take actions such as laying pipes or hanging wires. This may need to cross over private land.
In these circumstances, eminent domain is often cited to allow the utility company access to a portion of private land to build on and for ongoing maintenance.
4. For the benefit of the community
In some places, there are lots of vacant and run-down houses that the government would like to acquire and build on. The reason given is usually that it wants to rejuvenate the area by knocking down what’s there and building new developments.
If you find yourself in a position where the government has given you notice it intends to take your land, you should act quickly to find out your legal options.