Imagine you’re operating your Tampa Bay business like any other day when you receive a Notification of Need for Property & Rights from a condemning authority. What does it mean? Basically, the document says the local government intends to acquire your property.
If this should happen to you, you are involved in an eminent domain case. Investopedia defines it as the power of the government to obtain an individual’s property at will. The acquired land will be put to a public use, roads, schools, or other facilities. If the property in question is yours, you will be compensated at fair market value.
You shouldn’t really be worried if this happens. You can ensure that you will receive full compensation with the help of an eminent domain attorney, who will help you decide the best option available to you. For example, you can question whether the taking is for a legitimate public use. If you can disprove that at a hearing, then you may stop or delay the government from taking your land.
The other direction is to accept the case and stipulate to the taking. If the taking is really for a public use, you don’t have much choice in the matter, but you should make sure you are being properly compensated. Taking the initial offer is generally discouraged before consulting an attorney. The process of determining just how much you will be paid can get complicated. Without the services of an eminent domain attorney who will seek the advice of appraisers, contractors, surveyors, land planners, CPAs and other experts, you can’t be sure if you are really receiving full compensation.
A lawyer with a firm practicing in eminent domain cases, such as Mark Bentley, P.A., will help you obtain an objective appraisal of the value of your land. Each case is unique and will have varying facts; you can work with your attorney to find out if you are entitled to payments for things other than the price of the land, such as severance damages to the remainder of the property or business damages.
One important thing to note: you won’t have to worry about legal fees if your property is located in St. Petersburg or other localities in Florida. The state of Florida is among the few that requires the condemning authority to pay the owner’s legal fees and expert costs after the case is concluded in order to “level the playing field.”
Eminent Domain, Investopedia
Eminent Domain, US LegalShare