As a property owner, you likely expect to be able to do what you want with your property and remain there as long as you’d like. It may seem outrageous to consider someone telling you what you can or cannot do with your rightfully owned home and land, or even threatening to take your property. However, there are times when the government may do that. The concept of eminent domain allows the government, in certain circumstances, to take privately owned property.
It is in your interests to learn more about when this can happen and what you can do if you receive notice of an eminent domain action. You may feel powerless, but there are few options available to you. You will benefit from knowing your rights as this can be useful if you even receive an eminent domain notice for your property.
How eminent domain works
The legal principle of eminent domain allows the local, state or federal government to take privately owned property in specific situations. This is possible in situations in which the government may require the property for a project that benefits the public, such as widening a road, installing telephone poles and more. There must be a valid reason for taking the property, and the government owes the owner fair compensation that reflects the true value of the property.
Technically speaking, you cannot refuse eminent domain, but the government must give you ample notice. You also have a right to fair compensation, but there are ways you can protest the action. You may benefit from seeking a clear understanding of why the government intends to take your property, as well as what the market value of the property is. Keep in mind that the initial offer for your property may not reflect its true value, and you have the right to negotiate better terms.
Don’t fight alone
Eminent domain law is complex, but you do not have to navigate these matters alone. You will benefit from having experienced guidance as you seek the most beneficial outcome possible. While you may not be able to stop an eminent domain proceeding in Texas, you can take steps to ensure that you get fair compensation and that you have a voice at every step of the process.