As defined by NOLO.com, eminent domain is the power of the federal or state government to take private property for a public purpose, even if the property owner objects. The “Takings Clause” under the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution allows the government to take private property if the taking is for public use and the owner is justly compensated for their loss. This clause is also applied to state and local governments through the Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution.
There are different types of “takings” when the government acquires private land or any action that impacts the land.
- A complete taking occurs when the entire private property is bought by the government.
- A partial taking occurs when certain parts of the private property is taken.
- A temporary taking occurs when the government needs the private property for a specified amount of time.
The government can begin the legal process of eminent domain called condemnation. The government will make the first attempt to negotiate a deal to purchase the private property. Once the owner agrees to the price, the government will issue payment in exchange for the deed to the property.
If the owner and government disagree on the price of the property, both parties will attend a court hearing about the issue of the fair market value of the property. However, if the owner refuses to sell the entire property, the government will file a court action and post a public notice of the hearing. The government must prove that they tried to negotiate a sale and that the taking is for public use.
Experienced Eminent Domain Lawyers in Augusta and Evans
If you are facing a potential eminent domain dispute and want to know your rights, call Shepard, Plunkett & Hamilton, LLC today for a free consultation.
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