The rights afforded to the government under the doctrine of eminent domain are quite far-reaching. This can make it quite difficult to stop them from taking the land if they can prove they are justified in taking it and they pay just compensation.
So, what rights do you have as the property owner? Is there any way that you can tell the government that they cannot take your land?
The government has to meet certain conditions
In order for an eminent domain case to be valid, there are certain conditions that the government first has to meet.
Firstly, the land has to be needed for “public use”. While this is quite a nondescript term, it usually includes such purposes as creating roads, bridges and nature reserves that benefit a community. You also need to be offered just compensation for your property and you need representation throughout the process.
If the government has not met one or more of the conditions above you may have a case to challenge the validity of the case. Stopping an eminent domain case in its entirety is unfortunately not something that happens very often, especially when it has been shown that the land you have serves a purpose for a wider need. You’d need to be able to prove that the reason they’re providing for needing the land is unjust. It’s important to remember that you do have the right to negotiate the compensation you receive and do not simply have to take what you’re initially offered.
While you can’t generally refuse to let the government take your property, it’s wise to have legal guidance to make sure you’re treated fairly, the conditions are met and you receive the amount of compensation you deserve.