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Was your property damaged during road repairs? 

On Behalf of | Aug 11, 2023 | Eminent Domain |

Generally, there is a clear legal boundary between where your property begins and that of another party ends. For example, you may own your house and the land around it, including the driveway. However, in some cases, private land may border that which is in public ownership. For instance, your driveway may run onto a public road. 

Sometimes, it can be difficult to repair public roads without accessing private property. Typically, it is the responsibility of state or local governments to maintain public highways. So, what happens if repairs need to be carried out near your home? Can the government access your land without your permission? 

What is eminent domain? 

The “Takings Clause” of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution allows governments to take control of private land in certain circumstances. To justify this, the taking of the land would usually have to be for the public good. 

Public roads and highways are facilities that are widely considered to be for the greater public good, so it’s possible that the government may be able to take control of private property to carry out the necessary repairs. 

You should be compensated 

Generally, the government cannot simply seize your property to your detriment. For public road repairs, your property would normally be taken for a set period of time and full control handed back to you upon the completion of the project. 

This is known as “temporary taking”. During this period, you should receive just compensation, often the market rental value of the land, until the project is completed. If your access has been restricted or denied, then the inability to enjoy your property should also be taken into consideration. If your personal property has been damaged in any way, then you may be able to hold both the government and construction company to account legally for the damages and repairs.

Eminent domain in real estate can be tricky. This is why it’s so important to have legal guidance behind you should you be facing such a scenario.