right of eminent domain, applicable to states and localities
and the federal government enables theme to condemn and force
the sale of private property for public purposes. Governments
most commonly use the power of eminent domain when the acquisition
of property (land or buildings) is necessary for the completion
of a public project such as a road, and the owner of the required
property is unwilling to negotiate a price for its sale. In
many jurisdictions the power of eminent domain is tempered
with a right that just compensation be made for the appropriation
– meaning, the landowner must be compensated in some fair
measure for the loss of his or her property.
Background of Eminent Domain
The term eminent domain was derived in the mid 19th century from a legal treatise written by the Dutch jurist, Hugo Grotius in 1625. As per this, the rights of an individual are subordinate to the government. Thus, for example, the government has a right to condemn the construction of a block of private residences because they need the property to build an interstate highway. The owner is entitled to receive just compensation for his property whenever private property is taken by the government.
This refers to the process of taking private property by the government for public use. It should not be confused with the term of same name that refers to the legal process that deems a real estate property, legally unfit for habitation due to physical defects. If your property has been condemned due to exercising eminent domain, you will typically receive an offer letter from the government, stating that they would like to acquire your property for a certain sum of money. You may also be sent summons or complaint in condemnation in certain cases.
Accepting or Rejecting Condemnation
If you feel you are being justly compensated and are willing to part with the property at the specified rate, you can accept the condemnation letter; or, reject it and seek the assistance of a law firm to contest the action.
When a private property is taken for public purposes by the government, the owner of the private property has a right to compensation. While just compensation does not have a precise description, it often refers to the highest amount that the property would bring if it was exposed for sale in the open market for a reasonable period of time and the buyer was aware of all purposes to which it could be adaptable.