Eminent domain is a complicated area of law that can be overwhelming for landowners in North Carolina to navigate. While an eminent domain attorney in North Carolina can help with your case, here are answers to some frequently asked questions regarding the matter.
What is Eminent Domain?
Eminent domain refers to the government’s right to take private property deemed necessary for public use in exchange for fair compensation. This limitation is outlined in the 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, and North Carolina property owners are provided similar rights under the state’s constitution.
Condemnation is the process by which the government can exercise this power to seize private property. Eminent domain attorneys can help property owners defend their cases and acquire just compensation when facing land condemnation.
Who Has the Right to Use Eminent Domain?
Federal, state, and local governments have the power to exercise eminent domain, but they can also pass condemnation authority to private entities such as utility and telephone companies. All institutions, whether government or private, are subject to the constitutional criteria of eminent domain: property must be taken for public benefit, and the owner must be compensated fairly.
What Qualifies as Public Use?
“Public use” or “public benefit” can be defined as anything that confers some advantage or benefit to the public. For example, the North Carolina government can condemn private property for building freeways, reservoirs, transportation infrastructure, and public parks. Likewise, private entities like gas and telephone companies can acquire private property for the public benefit of providing residents with their services.
Since the term “public use” can be broadly defined, some private property owners may find their land condemned for dubious reasons. If this is the case for you, eminent domain attorneys can help determine if you can fight the taking or challenge the notion of “public use” for the project.
How Can I Tell if I am Receiving Fair Compensation?
Just compensation is typically based on the fair market value of the property. However, government or private entities may try to give you a lowball offer without factoring in other variables like relocation costs, property damage, or compensation for fixtures. Eminent domain attorneys can help you determine just compensation for your property in cooperation with a team of experts, including surveyors and engineers.
Facing condemnation can be overwhelming for property owners. Rely on Sever Storey Walker to help you out. Our eminent domain attorneys in North Carolina can walk you through the process and help you fight for your rights. Contact Sever Storey Walker today for a free consultation!