Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Eminent Domain

Gerardo Diaz
Finance 180

Eminent Domain

The power of Eminent Domain is very often used now days to build public use projects. This power is passed down by the U.S. Constitution to local governments along with other powers through enabling acts. These types of powers show you that we do not completely own our property because there are rules, codes and regulations we have to follow to own property and even then it can still be taken from us through Eminent Domain. This can be very devastating to some people whose properties are there life and has sentimental value.

Before the government can take any individual’s land they have to follow most or all of the steps from the California Eminent Domain Handbook in order to proceed. These steps were acquired from the California Eminent Domain Law Group’s website; it is a corporation of attorneys at law. The steps are as followed:
1. Initial contact by government agency to express interest in the property and/or scheduling date for appraisal or environmental assessment of the property.
2. Appraisal of the property, including improvements, by agency retained appraiser.
3. Offer to purchase the property is made to the owner, together with summary of appraisal upon which offer to purchase is made.
4. Notice of public hearing to adopt "resolution of necessity" to acquire property by eminent domain.
5. Public hearing is held to adopt "resolution of necessity" to acquire the property by eminent domain.
6. Eminent domain case is filed in court and served on property owner.
7. Deposit by agency of the probable amount of just compensation is paid into court and motion by agency for early possession of the property
8. Discovery (i.e., depositions and document production) takes place in eminent domain action, and both the property owner and government hire appraisers to determine "fair market value" of the subject property.
9. The property owner and government exchange their respective appraisers' reports.
10. Final settlement offers and demands are exchanged (about 20 days before trial).
11. If settlement cannot be reached, trial of the eminent domain action takes place before a jury whose job it is to determine "fair market value" of the subject property.
12. Jury returns verdict and judgment is entered.
13. Government pays judgment within 30 days following entry of judgment and title to subject property is transferred to the government by the court.

This handbook is also handed to the owner of the land so that they are informed of their rights and the whole process. A relocating agent is also contacted by the government to further assist the land owner in helping to relocate their home or business. The owner is also entitled to “just compensation” for the property and the right for due process. The government will have to pay the owner “just compensation” for the land by buying the land at market value and at its highest and best use at the time of condemnation; which is when government is taking the land. The owner is protected by “due process”; which is when the owner has the right to sue the government for taking his/her property. These types of cases are very hard to beat and rarely won.

Inverse condemnation is another way the government can acquire your land without wanting it and the owner pretty much making them buy it. This occurs when there is a government agency or public project that causes property damage to a property nearby and the property is no longer useful and worthless to the owner. Property damage may occur by flood damage, land slide, land subsidence, loss of adjacent or subjacent support and physical occupation of the property even if there isn’t any property damage (Peterson law group Professional Corporation). These results in regulatory taking and inverse condemnation and the government will then have to make a just compensation to the owner and take the land.

Eminent Domain is a government power, it is a great action in my opinion and a right given to the government by the people for the benefit of the public; if it wasn’t for Eminent Domain we would not have a great infrastructure as we do now. Roads, Freeways, Highways, utility lines, parks, schools, government buildings etc. are some examples in which Eminent Domain has been and can be used. Such infrastructures have made it easier and faster for transportation as well as gas, water, electricity etc. which is very beneficial for us in this fast pace lifestyle compared to other countries.

Works Cited

California Eminent Domain Law Group. Procedures. 1997-2011. Web. 21 march 2011.

Peterson law Group Professional Corporation. Eminent Domain. 2011. Web. 22 March 2011.

Diaz, Julian III and Hansz Andrew J. Real Estate Analysis, Environments and Activities. Dubuque, IA, 2010. Print.

1 comment:

  1. New law of California court are very strict for land owners. Before land owners were getting their commision every time when they were sold their land. Now they can not get that according to new law.
    -inverse condemnation