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The Legal Implications of an Eminent Domain

Eminent Domain Legal Implications

Depending on the ease of the situation, the process of eminent domain can have serious legal implications. A smooth path can help avoid legal troubles and headaches, whereas a rough path can end in costly court battles, attorney fees, and appeals to follow. Since the law of eminent domain deals with the authority of a given government to take over a land of private owner for the benefit of its public use, the argument lies on whether or not the authority is just.

The law of eminent domain states that the government involved in the takeover of the land for the use of eminent domain must first notify the landowner with a sufficient amount of time in regards to the process. If the person approves, then there will be a determination made to establish the fair market value for that property. This amount will be offered to the property owner as a compensation for the takeover, as the best possible offer. If this offer is not reasonable, or insufficient in accordance with the true property value, then the owner can present the case in a hearing.

This is not uncommon, because the government may offer the owner the value of the property at the current time, which could be a low economic time for the real estate market. This could cause the value of the home to be significantly less than it would be at a more appealing time for the market value. In this case, the owner could present a case that if they were going to sell the house during a 'normal' or high market time in real estate, that the worth of their property would be x amount, higher than what they were offered.


But since they were not looking to sell, they are simply being asked or forced to sell due to eminent domain at a time of a low market, this x amount is much lower and unacceptable. Sometimes in these cases, the court will agree with the private owner and grant them the higher market value, and the government will pay to avoid further legal implications. Other times, the amount granted is the final amount, and if the court rules in favor of the government, the owner will have to accept.


If the owner does not accept the offer by the government right at the beginning, then that government will file a court action against the owner in the case of eminent domain. The government will have to prove a reasonable cause for the eminent domain, and state under the law of public use, that the land is indeed necessary to their project. The owner can also present their case in the hearing if they feel the government does not have a reasonable cause, under the law of eminent domain, to take the land for public use. The legal process for eminent domain can be a long one if it ends up going to a hearing, even though both sides desire a smooth and swift transfer of property. The tedious transaction lies within the nature of the eminent domain law.

NEXT: The Strongest Criticisms of Eminent Domains

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