Understanding the Differences Between Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation

At Fryer & Hansen, PLLC, our eminent domain lawyers are dedicated to helping property and homeowners stay up-to-date on properly defending their rights when dealing with an eminent domain or inverse condemnation proceeding. We’re here to help make these complex processes less confusing. Let’s discuss the differences between inverse condemnation and eminent domain.

Call our eminent domain lawyers in McAllen today to ensure that you get the proper amount of compensation for your property!

Eminent Domain

The most common and well-known government acquisition of private property is eminent domain. This is sometimes referred to as “condemnation” and is the power of private entity or state, local or federal government to take private property for the “greater good” as long as the owners are properly compensated. Private corporations, such as gas, oil companies or local officials can operate under eminent domain when involved in projects for bridges, railroads, highways, construction sites, schools, etc.

The Process

When government or local officials identify a project that may require the acquisition of private property, they must immediately notify its owners. From there, negotiations for purchasing begin. The outcome can result in an owner agreeing to the amount being offered by the purchasing party.

There are few instances where a homeowner can prevail by proving that their property isn’t needed to complete a project. If he/she won’t sell, then the buying party will most likely file suit to acquire the property through eminent domain. A civil jury or sitting judge will then determine the amount of compensation.

Inverse Condemnation

The second form of private property seizure is inverse condemnation. This usually happens when a party attempts to acquire private property without following eminent domain procedures and not paying compensation to the owner. For example, a government entity decides to convert a street into a highway and intends to buy a portion of a nearby parking lot from a business owner.

Since the business has lost some of its customers due to lack of parking, it decides it wants the value of the entire parcel for the revenue it has lost. If an eminent domain procedure isn’t filed and the seizing party tries to acquire the property, the owner has the right to file an inverse condemnation lawsuit. The owner must prove that the entity wanting to take the property did not offer compensation, or that the property was seized without payment.

Your Right for Just Compensation

When deciding what just compensation is, an owner must take into account every type of value that could have come from the property. Just compensation means that a property owner should receive an amount equal to the market value for said property. This includes the value of the land and the amount that the land depreciated as a result of the seizure. For the most part, a property owner will not receive compensation until after a land seizure.

Project SH 68

Currently, local officials are preparing for Project SH 68, a four-lane highway project with future mainlines in the eastern part of Hidalgo County. The project will take form mostly in the eastern part of Hidalgo County from US 83/1-2 to US 281/I-69C for a total of 22 miles. Some of the reasons for this project are increasing traffic capacity in the surrounding area, providing alternate evacuation routes for emergencies and improving south/north mobility.

Fryer & Hansen Can Help

If you have reason to believe that you will be affected by or have already received an eminent domain notice, don’t hesitate to call our eminent domain lawyers. We’ll carefully review your case and offer advice on how to proceed. We’ll try our best to get the compensation you deserve.

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