Eminent Domain

What is Eminent Domain?

Eminent Domain is when a condemning authority takes private land from a land owner regardless of that owners willingness to sell said land. The condemning authorities that can use this power are spelled out in Florida Statute and in include but are not limited to State, County, and City Governments, railroads, and utility companies. These authorities are not always seeking to take your land forever. In many instances the condemning authority may be seeking temporary use of your property, through a temporary construction easement, or any other form of easement to place a utility or gain access to ingress and egress the property. The condemning authority must show that your land is being taken for a public purpose such as a road, bridge, etc. Whether a temporary take or a permanent take, you have the right to be compensated for the taking of your land.

As the land owner, Florida Statute grants you many rights when it comes to the taking of your property. One of the greatest rights being COMPENSATION IN FULL. The condemning authority is required to pay for the appraisals, court costs, attorneys fees, and in many cases expert testimony if needed. The condemning authority pays YOUR attorney. Florida Statute is set up to limit all out of pocket costs to the land owner.

Should I hire an Attorney if I am happy with the offer?

If you believe the offer from the condemning authority is fair and you have no interest in a free second opinion, or having someone who knows the system fight to get you the most you can get, you can accept the offer without hiring legal counsel. The benefits to hiring an attorney who has practiced in eminent domain are numerous. The attorney can have a second appraisal performed on the property by an independent appraiser at no cost to you. An eminent domain attorney can look at your case and compare it to past cases with those same condemning authorities to ensure that you are being FULLY COMPENSATED for your land. The best part about it, these services are free to you, all of this will be paid by the condemning authority.