Eminent domain and land condemnation refers to the fundamental power of the government to take private property for a public purpose without the owner’s consent. The government’s control of eminent domain is incorporated in the United States Constitution and the North Carolina General Statutes. The Constitution’s Fifth Amendment prohibits the federal government from taking private property for public use without “just compensation.” The Fourteenth Amendment prohibits state government from taking private property without “due process.”
When the government takes real property, a complicated valuation analysis must be undertaken to determine the fair value of the property. The government’s primary focus is obtaining the property most cheaply and cost-effectively. Without hiring an experienced attorney, the property, home, and business owners faced with condemnation proceedings may not get the value for their property to which they would otherwise be entitled.
The government must pay property owners “just compensation” for the taken property. Determining just compensation for a particular parcel of property is generally the most litigated issue. Depending on the particulars of the property being taken and what the property will be used for, a property owner may be entitled to varying compensation.
If the entire property is taken, the measure of compensation is the fair market value of the property on the date of the taking. If only a portion of the property is taken, the extent of damages depends on who is taking the property. If the North Carolina Department of Transportation is taking the property, the measure of damages is based upon the difference between the fair market value of the entire property before the taking and the fair market value of the remainder of the property following the taking. If a local governmental agency participates in the land condemnation, the measure of compensation is the greater of (a) the difference between the fair market value of the “parent track” immediately before and after the taking or (b) the fair market value of the property taken.
A property owner has the right to challenge the government’s valuation and get fair compensation for their property. If your property is being condemned by the state, a municipality, county, or utility company, it is essential to contact an experienced attorney to assist with the condemnation process. Our eminent domain attorneys can help you to obtain fair compensation for the loss of your property.
If you have received a Condemnation Complaint, Declaration of Taking, Memorandum of Action, Notice of Deposit, or other correspondence pertaining to an eminent domain or land condemnation action, we may be able to help. We handle land condemnation and eminent domain cases throughout North Carolina and offer free consultations for property owners facing eminent domain or land condemnation.