Eminent domain is a complex legal area that can leave North Carolina landowners feeling overwhelmed. While hiring an eminent domain attorney in North Carolina is a viable option to help with your case, we have compiled answers to some commonly asked questions to provide further guidance on the subject.
What exactly is eminent domain?
Eminent domain is a legal concept that grants the government the authority to take privately owned property for public use while providing fair compensation to the landowner. The 5th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and North Carolina state constitution outline this limitation. The process by which the government can exercise this power is called condemnation. Eminent domain attorneys can aid property owners in defending their cases and obtaining just compensation in the event of land condemnation.
Who has the authority to use eminent domain?
The authority to exercise eminent domain is held by the federal, state, and local governments, as well as private entities such as utility and telephone companies, to whom condemnation authority may be passed. However, all entities are bound by the constitutional criteria of eminent domain, which require that the property be taken for public benefit and that the owner be compensated fairly.
What’s considered public use?
“Public use” or “public benefit” can be defined as any project that provides an advantage or benefit to the public. Examples of public use may include building freeways, reservoirs, transportation infrastructure, and public parks, among others, as determined by the North Carolina government. Similarly, private entities such as gas and telephone companies may acquire private property to provide services to the public. However, the broad definition of “public use” can result in some private property owners having their land condemned for questionable reasons. In such cases, eminent domain attorneys can assist in determining whether the taking can be contested or the concept of “public use” for the project can be challenged.
How to know if I am getting fair compensation?
In most cases, just compensation for the seized property is based on its fair market value. However, government or private entities may offer a lowball amount without considering other factors such as relocation costs, property damage, or compensation for fixtures. With the assistance of eminent domain attorneys, property owners can work with a team of experts, including surveyors and engineers, to determine the appropriate just compensation for their property.
Dealing with condemnation can be stressful for property owners. At Sever Storey Walker, our eminent domain attorneys in North Carolina can guide you through the process and help you protect your rights. Contact us today for a free consultation!