If you own a home or other real estate in Texas, you expect that you will exercise all ownership rights in and to that property. The last thing you expect is that someone can take your property away from you without your consent. Unfortunately, however, under the power of eminent domain, a governmental entity has the right to expropriate your property for public use.

An article in the Texas State Law Library explains that the right of eminent domain in Texas relies on the following four documents:

  1. Section 17, Article 1 of the Texas Constitution
  2. Chapter 2206 of the Texas Government Code
  3. Chapter 21 of the Texas Property Code
  4. Article V of the U.S. Constitution

Landowner’s Bill of Rights

Despite the government’s right to take your property against your will through eminent domain, you, too, have rights. Per the State of Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights, if the city, county or state declares its intention to expropriate your land and the structures on it, some of your rights include the following:

  • The right to adequate compensation, meaning at the very least the fair market value of your land and structures
  • The right to hire your own appraiser if you disagree with the government’s determination of your property’s value
  • The right to have an attorney represent you and your interests, both in negotiations with the government and in court if and when the dispute results in a condemnation proceeding
  • The right to a hearing before three court-appointed special commissioners
  • The right to a trial by a judge and/or a jury if you disagree with the amount of compensation awarded to you by the commissioners
  • The right to appeal an adverse trial outcome

This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.