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Real Estate

Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is the inherent power of the state to seize a citizen's private property or rights in private property, without the owner's consent. The property is taken either for government use or by delegation to third parties who will devote it to "public use." The most common uses of property taken by eminent domain are public utilities, highways, and railroads.

The term condemnation is used to describe the act of a government exercising its power of eminent domain to transfer title to private property from its rightful owner to itself. It is not to be confused with the same term that describes a declaration that real property, generally a building, has become so dilapidated as to be legally unfit for human habitation due to its physical defects. This type of condemnation of buildings (on grounds of health and safety hazards or gross zoning violation) usually does not deprive the owners of the title to the property condemned but requires them to rectify the offending situation or have the government do it for them and bill them for the cost.

Condemnation via eminent domain indicates the government is taking the property or an interest in it, such as an easement . In most cases the only thing that remains to be decided when a condemnation action is filed is the amount of just compensation, although in some cases the right to take may be challenged by the property owner on the grounds that the attempted taking is not for a public use, or has not been authorized by the legislature, or because the condemnor has not followed the proper procedure required by law.

The process of Eminent Domain can be difficult and confusing.  Each stage in the condemnation process is controlled by specific and detailed statutes, and at every stage it takes an experienced eminent domain lawyer to be aware of every opportunity for increasing the amount of compensation you'll receive from the condemning authority.  At RICE & ROSe our attorneys have the knowledge and experience to guide you through this process and ensure that you receive the highest compensation possible.

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