Ever since the decision pronounced by the supreme Court of the United States in the case of Kelo v/s City of New London, a number of states have initiated measures to safeguard the rights of private landowners.
Every landowner has the following 10 crucial rights:
- They have the right to a fair compensation for land acquired from them for public use
- Land may be acquired from private owners only for public projects
- Only an organization having the power of eminent domain may seize your land
- It is imperative that the owner is to be properly notified about the condemnation
- A written appraisal must be provided from a certified appraiser
- The condemnation petition cannot be filed without making a bona fide purchase offer
- The private property owner may appoint an independent appraiser of their choice
- The private property owner may appoint an attorney to represent them
- The landowner is entitled to a special commissioners’ hearing
- The private property owner is also entitled to a trial by judge or jury if they are unhappy with the award
The private property owner holds all the rights of the surface estate, the water rights and also the mineral rights with absolute control over the development of that property in Texas.
The Texas court of law has long held that the mineral endowment is the dominant estate. The mineral owner or their lessee have the inferred right to use the surface which is reasonably necessary within accepted parameters for the developing of the minerals.
Nevertheless, some limitations apply to the use of surface. The foremost notable restraint requires the mineral owner to accommodate current surface uses that could either be ranching or agricultural practices within reason. This limitation is practical under the judicial accommodation doctrine.
More than one ownership for a stretch of land is created due to Severability and the possibility of any real property right being severed. This rule applies to oil, timber or gas.
In case of groundwater a separate Authority known as Edwards Aquifer Authority governs this area. This authority has its own set of rules for this purpose. The rights related to wind energy is also included as other severable property interests, and efforts are being put to add solar energy as a severable as well.
Property Rights Coalition of Texas (PRCT) is a broad coalition of landowners and organizations from the Texas states of the United States. This board is calling on lawmakers to fix the bill a number of legislators claim to be for the protection and in the best interests of property owners. PRCT wants lawmakers to put in sturdy and stringent words in the bill that defines critical terms. The reason being this will help in enforcing and strengthening a landowner’s protection in the bill by including the word “necessary” in the definition of “public use.”
Being a landowner in Texas, you do need to acknowledge that the population of the state is growing at a fast pace. With this increase in number, there is an escalation in the requirement of more land for public resources such as water, transportation and energy, etc. But as a landowner, you should also recognize your property rights and that they must be well protected! To know more about your property rights, get in touch with us today!