Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation: What You Should Know

If you are a real estate owner, you may one day receive a metaphorical knock on your door from the United States government requesting that you give them some, or all, of your property. They may say that they are going to take it from you outright or take portions of it. The difference between these two approaches is the difference between eminent domain and inverse condemnation.

If you’re facing the potential danger of losing your land to the government, here is everything that you need to know and what steps to take.

What is Eminent Domain?

Whether you like it or not, the power to force the sale or just take your private land for public use has a long history as one of the government’s sovereign powers. This is known as the power of eminent domain. The United States constitution couples this power with a governmental responsibility to just pay you some compensation for your land.

The federal or state government will initiate eminent domain. In some instances, the land owner can challenge the ability of the government to take their property away from them under a statutory or constitutional law, but these challenges rarely win.

In the vast majority of cases, the challenge is with the value of the property and the compensation you will get if the government takes your land.

What is the Eminent Domain Process?

 There are some basic steps with eminent domain which is similar nationwide, including:

·         The agency or government having the power of eminent domain identifies a public project that requires the acquisition of private land

·         The government or agency, also referred to as the “condemner,” notifies the potentially affected property owner

·         The condemner may make an offer to purchase the property

·         If negotiations are not successful, the condemner will file a suite to acquire the property using the power of eminent domain

What is Inverse Condemnation?

While the government initiates eminent domain, inverse condemnation is started by the land owner when the state or federal government demands taking the property without the proper eminent domain procedures. These are often land-use disputes that a property owner will challenge with development restrictions. This practice is commonly referred to as “taking,” and, like with eminent domain, it requires the government to compensate the land owner.

This process, however, may not result from a forced ownership transfer from the property owner to the government. It can also result from damage or some other reduction of the land’s use or value due to governmental conduct. It can even occur if the damage to the property is temporary, including a flooding of property caused by a government entity.

If you are a land owner facing the possibility of eminent domain or that you may have a potential inverse condemnation claim, it’s important to protect your rights by hiring the right legal expert, like the Tim Kassouni lawyer, an appellate lawyer in Sacramento, CA

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