As a specialized area of real estate law, eminent domain refers to the government’s legal right to take one’s private property and use it for a public purpose. Essentially, this means that the government can take an individual or family’s land and build a bridge, canal or road. However, the owner of the land must be reimbursed for the land at a fair market value. This leads many to question, what is considered “just compensation?” When it comes to eminent domain, what am I entitled to?
While a clear-cut answer would be nice in this case, there are far too many specifics in relation to eminent domain, with variances from city to city and even county to county. Even so, the Landowner’s Bill of Rights, enacted in 2006, does require the entity or utility using the power of eminent domain to provide landowners a copy of their rights. Additionally, landowners must be notified in advance through a written document in which “public use” of the land must be specified for governmental purposes or road development.
For homeowners, there’s very little hope in stopping the government’s process of acquiring land through eminent domain. What’s more is that with the ever-increasing population of Georgia, there seems to be a need for more roadways, schools and other public buildings. Thus, it appears as though the demand for such will continue to drive the process of eminent domain.
If you have received a proposal that you feel does not meet the requirements of “public purpose or public necessity,” or if you’ve received an offer that you believe is below fair value for your property, it is critical that you contact an experienced eminent domain attorney. There’s no doubt—determining just compensation requires the knowledge and expertise of an attorney with connections to other experts such as appraisers that will gather the facts pertaining to your case.
We’ll Help You Understand Your Legal Rights
It’s true—the arena of eminent domain is complex. Even so, the attorneys at Shepard, Plunkett & Hamilton, LLP can help you understand your legal rights and help you obtain the compensation that you are entitled to according to the law. Call today for a free consultation to discuss your rights as a property owner.
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