When you hear that your property is condemned it can come as a shocker. After your lifetime efforts to build and maintain your property, your rights over your property could be snatched away by the provisions of eminent domain. To avoid such a scenario, you must consult property rights lawyer Houston to guide you in getting the ‘rightful compensation’. Eminent domain is the empowerment of the government which enables it to acquire private property that belongs to its citizens for the public use. Public use here means government projects that benefit the citizens.
Although the Government is empowered, it cannot condemn private properties indiscriminately.
Some of the reasons for which the Government may exercise its eminent domain powers are:
- The land is utilized for the purpose of constructing new roads or widening the existing roads, laying rail lines and other similar infrastructure projects.
- Laying of gas pipeline, electric transmission lines, water or sewerage lines etc.
- Construction of large-scale sports stadium, commercial complexes and similar.
The landowners are entitled to receive the compensation that fully compensates the damage suffered by the owner with respect to the taking away of the property by the government. However, many a time the compensation offered may be less than what the private property feels it should be. In such cases, the private property owners have the right to contest the government compensation offer to ask for a higher amount.
In order to determine and contest the compensation offer, you need to consult a well experienced eminent domain lawyer.
The Condemnation Process
The law has laid down clear guidelines when the government or its agents, which could be a private company, want to conduct proceedings when starting the condemnation process which are:
Offer and Negotiation – The appraising of private properties must be done and the private property owner should be made aware of their rights. Landowners may negotiate for what they feel is the fair value.
Special Commissioner Hearing – When the condemning authorities and the private property owner are not able to arrive at an agreement over the value, the condemnation authority files a petition in the court of law and sets up the commissioners hearing. The commissioner after hearing the arguments of both the parties decides on an award.
Objections and trails – When either the condemning authority or the landowner disagrees with the award decided by the commissioner. Objections may be filed and both of them litigate at the trial.
Every successful negotiation must be based on a sound strategy. You must select the lawyer who has the requisite characteristics of preparedness, patience, openness and candor, and willingness to compromise. The lawyer with his experience and skills will be able to get you the best possible compensation for your property that is being taken over through eminent domain.
Though it is shocking and very painful when your property is taken away through the right of eminent domain Houston. The only option you are left with is to get justly compensated for the damages caused. You must consult a well experienced eminent domain lawyer who can by using his knowledge, skills and experience help you get the best possible compensation.