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Eminent domain: A review for property owners

On Behalf of | Aug 6, 2020 | Real Estate

It can take a lifetime for an Indiana resident to save enough money to buy real property. Unlike personal property, which can include clothing, jewelry, and musical instruments, real property relates to land, acreage, and buildings such as homes and commercial structures. For many people, real property is an investment and something that they include in their wealth portfolio when planning for the future.

While an individual can choose to sell their real property, in some instances they may be asked to sell it against their wishes. This can happen when the government initiates an eminent domain proceeding against them. Eminent domain is a complex legal process and readers can talk to real property attorneys about their own questions and case-specific needs.

What is eminent domain?

The grounds for eminent domain stem from the Constitution and its various amendments. In effect, eminent domain allows the government to take property for public use, but it must provide deprived property owners with just compensation. Eminent domain can be used when roads need to be built, dams need to be constructed, or national parks will be recognized. The term “public use” can have a broad interpretation, and many different projects can be classified as public to justify an eminent domain campaign by the government.

What is just compensation?

To preserve fairness, the government cannot take a person’s real property and leave them with nothing. To this end, the government must provide an individual with just compensation for the taking of their property. Just compensation may be based on the negotiations of the government and the affected landowner, or it may be based on the fair market value of the property at the time of the eminent domain proceedings.

What can a property owner do about eminent domain?

If a property owner does not want to relinquish their property, they can choose to fight for their right to retain in. When the government wishes to pursue eminent domain, it must satisfy legal standards so that the taking is not arbitrary. A real property attorney can support the needs of an individual who is facing an eminent domain battle.



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