What do property owners need to know about eminent domain?
When you buy real estate, you likely look at it as a long-term or even permanent commitment. You will pay on a mortgage for many years. People who purchase their own home and business owners who buy commercial property will invest a significant amount of their income in the purchase costs and maintenance expenses for their real estate holdings.
All of those investments, including improvements to the property, could be at risk in an eminent domain situation. Under federal and Texas state law, it is sometimes possible for individual property owners to lose their homes and business properties for large projects.
Eminent domain is the term for a land or property seizure conducted by the government. What do you need to know about eminent domain in Texas?
The project should be for public benefit
Sometimes, businesses try to use eminent domain rules for a project that will largely only benefit their company. In these rare cases, property owners can sometimes defend against the loss of their property in civil court.
Other times, it may be possible for individual property owners facing the possible loss of their property through eminent domain to ask that the project seek means to develop around their parcel.
They should receive fair compensation for their property
Developers can’t just move in and demand that you sell your home to them for a fraction of what it would be worth on the current real estate market. Homeowners facing eminent domain claims against the property have the right to demand a fair market price for their property.
Obtaining a fair price might mean countering the original offer you received or even taking the entity seeking to condemn your property to court to show that their offer is too low. Condemnation is the process through which an entity forces the sale of a property for eminent domain purposes. It has little to do with the condition of your property and everything to do with the location and its necessity for the proposed project.
Although you may not be able to stop the condemnation of your property or prevent an eminent domain claim against your real estate, you at least have the right to demand appropriate and fair compensation for the property you lose. Knowing your rights when dealing with an eminent domain situation will help you protect the investment you have made in the property.