Eminent domain is the process by which the government can take private property. This is supposed to be done in situations where it is publicly beneficial for the government to use that property. An example is if they’re building an interstate and the property is needed so that the roadway can be completed.
There are certainly some disputes over whether or not the project is necessary or if the government has the right to take the property. Many property owners are less than pleased to find out that this is happening, even in situations where it is legal. But there’s another issue that often sparks disputes, even when eminent domain is inevitable: Just compensation.
What is a fair price?
The goal behind an eminent domain action is to make the property owner whole financially. Ideally, they will be paid just compensation based on the fair market value of their property. If they owned a piece of land that was worth $500,000, they may be losing that land, but they should be gaining $500,000.
But what if the property owner thinks that the property is worth $500,000, but the government just offers them $200,000? Many disputes revolve around what just compensation actually looks like and how much money is owed for the property. It’s very important to look at nearby comps and have a valuation done to determine what that land is really worth.
These disputes can get very complicated, and there may be a lot of money on the line. Those who are involved need to know about all of their legal options.