Jeffrey D. Horowitz
April 24, 2015
Los Angeles ,CA 91423
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Can your real estate be taken from you? Sometimes the answer is “yes.” Eminent domain (or condemnation) is the power of government to take private property for a public use.
State laws regulate how government can take an owner’s land. In many states, the government must negotiate with an owner before taking the property. In other states, legal proceedings can begin without prior notice to the owner.
When the government condemns your property and takes it for public use:
There are different forms for taking property. A taking could be complete, where the property and all rights connected to it are taken, or partial, where the government takes only a portion of a parcel of land (for example, land needed to widen a road).
Easements (the right to use your property), such as utility easements, are also a form of taking. Temporary taking is possible, for example, if control of your property is needed during a government construction project.
It’s critical to know your options and protect your property rights when faced with an eminent domain case. An eminent domain lawyer is often a necessity in adequately protecting your interests in public hearings and governmental procedures.
Courts generally interpret the meaning of “public use” broadly, and arguments that the government lacks a valid reason to take your property often fail. Major issues in eminent domain cases center on deciding property value and compensation, including costs for moving and relocation.
A lawyer can also advise you on your rights and the law if you pursue other options, such as community action. Sometimes organized groups of property owners can convince the government to alter a project to lessen the burden on owners.