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2 mistakes to avoid if your property is subject to eminent domain

On Behalf of | Dec 26, 2023 | Eminent Domain |

You’ve just learned that the government plans to put up a new waterline through your property. You are understandably concerned about this. So, what do you do? Do you have any rights? And what mistakes should you avoid?

Both state and federal laws recognize and respect the citizens’ rights to private property. That said, the power of eminent domain allows the government to seize private property for public use (building roads, schools, pipelines and other infrastructure necessary to support the growing population).

Here are two mistakes you need to avoid if the government has earmarked your property for eminent domain. 

1. Failing to ask for the appraisal report that justifies the purchase offer

Once an infrastructure project is approved, an appraiser or a right-of-way agent will likely visit and appraise your property to determine its market value. It is on this appraisal that you will be given an offer. 

You should ask for a copy of the appraisal report because: 

  • This will give an idea of what the appraiser considered when determining your property’s value.
  • You may be able to identify some of the things that the appraiser might have overlooked.
  • It can help you identify other issues of concern if you decide to seek legal guidance.

2. Failing to ask about relocation costs

If the government is seizing your property, you will have to move. While the government will compensate you for the cost of your property, it is important to understand that you will incur moving expenses. These can include packing, transportation and storage costs. You must be clear about who will take care of these costs. 

Asserting your rights

The law guarantees you the right to fair compensation when the government is taking over your property for public use. Understanding your legal entitlements and obligations can help you avoid costly mistakes if your property is subject to eminent domain.