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  • Taleen Krug

Condemnation vs. Eminent Domain in Real Estate


Condemnation proceedings occur when the United States government takes private land through eminent domain or some other means. Usually, in condemnatio­n proceedings, the courts must decide whether the taking is legal and whether the proper compensa­tion was paid.


We'll now examine the concept of "condemning" property and it doesn't have anything to do with unsafe buildings as you know may think you know it.


Unsafe Buildings

If a dilapidated or unsafe structure is located near residential neighborhoods, schools, parks, etc., it could be condemned by local, state, and/or federal authorities. These properties may be subject to demolition or rehabilitation depending on their condition.


This can occur due to the damage brought about by age, or after an event that damaged the structure, such as a fire, flood, or storm. If repair work was performed, the order may be removed. However, if renovation work is carried out, the order may be revoked if it reveals other problems that weren't present when it was initially built. In some instances, renovations may cause the property to be deemed unfit for habitation if they trigger inspections that find other safety hazards or code violations that weren't previously discovered.


It's important for property owners not to disregard demolition orders because they could end up paying high fines if they fail to comply. If they disagree with the order, they can seek legal advice to determine their options.


Defining Condemnation in Real Estate

So, what is a condemnation of property and how do you move forward during the condemnation process? Keep reading for answers.


Condemnation proceedings are usually initiated by governments or private agencies who are seeking to take possession of your land for public use and/or public projects.


When eminent domains occur, the governments must go ahead and prove that they're doing so to fulfill their public purpose and that they've paid fair market value for the property. Sometimes, the governments may create an easement and pay the owners accordingly. This is where a real estate law attorney can come in handy and walk you through what can be a confusing process.


However, eminent domain isn't the only reason a state can condemn private land. Some governments may also initiate a proceeding if a piece of land has become so dilapidated, dangerous, or out of character with its surroundings that they feel compelled to act. At that point, they may take appropriate action to address the issue.


When dealing with situations where an owner has been absent for a long time, unpaid property taxes are usually at the root of the issue.


What Is Eminent Domain?

Eminent domain matters provide the United States government or a government entity the power to take land from anyone if they want it. They can do so even if the private property owner or land owner doesn't hold legal title to the land.


If you're a private property owner or landowner who owns land or entire property that has been condemned by eminent domain matters, you may be able to get some fair compensation for it. However, you're not guaranteed any rights when it comes to disputes, so again seek out expert legal advice.


Getting a Notice of Condemnation

Government condemnations and condemnation projects begin when the United States government sends you a condemnation notice of intent to condemn your property. It can be a scary thing and be aware that's a normal reaction from a landowner.


Also when receiving a notice of condemnation this is the beginning of the procedure for condemnation and you must then contact an experienced real estate attorney for advice.


A real estate attorney will usually tell you to get an independent appraisal and if you can get fair compensation for your entire property. Again, the real estate attorney will also be able to walk you through the legal process and what rights you have as well as a government authority.


Once you've completed an independent valuation report, you'll be able to negotiate with the local authorities for fair compensation. You should be compensated for what you're property is worth and advisors and experts are the ones who can assist.


An experienced real estate attorney will guide you through the legal aspects that are compliant with the United States.


What Is the Condemnation Process?

Condemnations vary depending on where the land in the United States is situated. Usually, condemnations follow the laws of the countries in which the lands are situated including in the United States.


Therefore, the condemnor has the burden of proving that the taking was necessary for public use, and it must compensate the owner fairly.


After the landowner or property owner in the United States receives notice from the government agency that they have been permitted to take the land for public purposes, the landowner or property owner has the opportunity to appeal the decision to the local county courthouse.


However, you must be advised that most appeals are unsuccessful because the law defines "public purpose" very broadly.


If the property has been condemned by the government agency, the property owners may be able to challenge the government's valuation of their properties. Once the property values are challenged, the courts will see a battle between the government and the property owners' appraiser.


Inverse Condemnation Process

An inverse condemnation suit and the inverse condemnation process is usually filed by a landowner against a government agency, entity, or private party that has harmed their land.


Usually, a property owner in the United States has seen some kind of harm done to his/her property due to the government agency or government entity. Because the harm has already happened, the property owner is looking for compensation during these inverse condemnation proceedings.


What does the "inverted condemnation" process look like in real life? Here are some common examples of what you can expect going through the inverse condemnation process.


A good example of an inverse condemnation process would be if the United States government has increased pollution levels so high that they've damaged your property. Then let's see if there's any way to initiate the inverse condemnation procedure to get compensation from them.


Or, if you're a store owner on a busy street, the city government may decide to build a new road right in front of your place of business. To do this, they'll have to take out your existing driveway, along with the sidewalk and landscaping around your property. They might also have to demolish your building and then rebuild it somewhere else. While they offer to compensate you for the loss of your property, you know that your profit margin will decrease significantly because you won't have an easy location to park cars anymore. In general, you can only hope your customers will understand why you had to close your doors.


If you think that in a United States government your customers will understand why you had to close when contacting an experienced real estate lawyer to see if there is anything you and they can do about it.


Fifth Amendment Rights

Luckily, the Fifth Amendment in the United States protects citizens from self-incrimination by providing them with legal protection against compelled testimony.


These include:

Private property in the United States cannot be condemned by the government for any reason.


If your property has been seized by the government, they'll pay you compensation for its lost value.


If you get this offer, be sure to call an eminent domain lawyer to verify you've gotten enough money for the property before accepting the deal as it may not be correct.


Also, know that everyone has the right to due process of law. Before the state can seize someone’s property, they must be given notice and an opportunity to defend themselves against charges.


Before seizing private land, landowners or property owners in the United States must be given proper notice.


Any eminent-dominion notice must give people enough information so they know what's going on and give them enough time to prepare for it.


Final Thoughts

Bottom line: Landowners in the United States are legally protected from unreasonable seizures by the government.


Private property rights in the United States cannot be taken away from individuals by governments and quasi-governmental entities unless they're doing something illegal.


You can fight for the compensation you think is fair by having an attorney and appraiser represent you. If you're able to get a really good deal from the sale of your house, you might be able to come out ahead financially.


Do not confuse condemnation matters with declaring an area unfit for habitation as this is often the case.


Taking someone else’s property for public use is called condemnation. On the flip side, You may hear the word "condemnation" more often when talking about condemned homes.


These are properties that local governments deem unsafe or uninhabitable for one reason or another. Sometimes property is condemned because it’s unsafe or uninhabitable. So that the land can be used for public purposes or public projects.


The United States government will condemn the buildings, demolish the existing structures, and modify the properties before taking ownership. So, this is where this phrase comes from.


Seizure Not Always What it Seems

Condemning something doesn't necessarily mean that it's been seized by the United States government.

It might simply mean that the city plans to demolish the building, but doesn't yet have the funds available to pay for the demolition.


If the state in the United States exercises its power of eminent domain against you, you may be forced to sell your land at auction.


Understanding the process and the rights that you retain can be helpful when dealing with an eviction.

For example, if you get a letter from the government about potential condemnation, contact an eminent domain attorney who can help you


They may not be able to help you save your house, but they can at least provide some compensation for what you're going through.


With these tips and the correct legal expertise, you should be able to maneuver through Condemnation vs. Eminent Domain in Real Estate and come out ahead of the process.


Again, do make sure you contact the correct attorneys to help you through the long process so you don't get taken advantage of.

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