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Being involved in an eminent domain case does not mean that the government will come in and tear down your home, leveling your land and turning it into a monstrosity of a shopping complex or a highway. In fact, many eminent domain cases do not involve the complete taking of your land at all. The following are brief explanations of the different types of takings that can be involved in a condemnation action and that can affect your rights as a landowner.
Possessory takings mean that the government – or another approved entity – takes over all or part of your land and you do not have the right to possess that land anymore. It is similar to voluntarily selling your property – once the deed changes hands, you would be trespassing if you went onto your property to use your land again.
Possessory takings can involve all of your land, which will require you to completely relocate yourself, your family, or even your business. In other situation, however, only a partial possessory taking will occur. Often, you can remain in your home or business – you just will not be able to use that part of your land.
Not all takings mean that someone has the right to move in on your land. Easements are a common form of non-possessory takings used for a variety of reasons. An easement does not give a party the right to possess your land – only to use it for a specified purpose. This can include installing and maintaining power lines or constructing a pipeline underground. The company can come onto your land in accordance with the easement while you still remain on your land, as well. Easements can often diminish property value, however, so it should be carefully considered before you agree to one.
A regulatory taking occurs when the locality or state passes a regulation that effectively prevents you from using your land as you would. For example, if you run a dairy farm and the locality suddenly prohibits keeping livestock in your area, you would lose your right to use your land for your business and would lose substantial income and possibly your entire livelihood. Regulatory takings often involve changes to zoning and land use laws and it can be difficult to prove that a taking truly occurred and that you deserve just compensation. Having the right attorney is critical in these cases – and in any type of eminent domain case, for that matter.
Regardless of the type of taking involved, property owners deserve to get the compensation to which they are entitled under the law. The best way to make sure your rights are protected and that you aren’t an unreasonably low offer for your property is to retain an experienced eminent domain lawyer as soon as you can. To schedule a free case evaluation with of our lawyers, call Sever Storey today at 888-318-3761 or send us an email through our online contact form.
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