Eminent Domain
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Protecting Your Rights As A Property Owner

It comes as a surprise to a lot of people to learn that the government has the authority to take the land of citizens and the businesses owned by citizens of the United States, even without the landowners’ consent or agreement. Since it doesn’t happen that often and more people don’t experience this phenomenon, it always seems a little surprising. Also, since people have significant money invested in their real property, an eminent domain taking is almost never met with welcome.

It is important to note that you do have rights. The government cannot simply take property without good reason, and it can’t simply kick you off the land without adequate compensation for the land it takes. However, although you do have rights in the process, it is not unprecedented for the government to overstep its authority or trample on a landowner’s rights in eminent domain proceedings. I am here to help you. With extensive legal experience and as a business owner myself, I know the personal and financial value of commercial and residential real property. At Robert I. Joseph, P.C., you will find an advocate who protects the rights of landowners throughout the state of Texas.

Your Rights As A Landowner

One of the first questions people ask about eminent domain involves their rights. Your rights as a property owner in an eminent domain proceeding include:

  • The government cannot take your land without a good reason. 

The valid reason for a real property taking is called “public use.” Although the definition of public use is broader than the name suggests, there are still significant limitations on what grounds the government can use for an eminent domain taking.

  • The government must compensate you accordingly. 

As a general rule, the government must provide you with fair market value (FMV) for the property it takes. There are numerous complications and nuances that could alter the final determination of FMV, like where your property is located, what method is used for determining the value and when the assessment was taken. But in general, you have a right to be compensated fairly.

  • The manner in carrying out an eminent domain must be in accord with procedural laws. 

Constitutionally, the rule is that the government cannot take the land of its citizens without due process of law. This means that the entity doing the taking has to follow strict legal procedures.

  • Some properties cannot be taken in eminent domain. 

Hospitals used primarily for charitable purposes and other similar properties cannot be taken in eminent domain.

  • You have the right to appeal in certain circumstances. 

In Texas, the appeals process in eminent domain is similar to the appeals process in any civil litigation. If there is a problem with how the case was handled by the judge, or if there was some error in the law, there is a chance that an appellate court would take the case on appeal.

There are many factors and nuances involved with eminent domain takings. I will explore every possibility for protecting your rights and helping you obtain FMV for your property.

Contact Robert I. Joseph, P.C.

The best first step is to talk with an experienced Texas lawyer about your situation. Call my San Antonio office at 210-988-0555 or my Lubbock office at 806-762-0555 today to schedule a consultation or fill out the online contact form.