Power lines and similar utility lines are essential to our everyday life because they deliver many services on which we rely, such as electricity. Utilities can place power lines, cable television, or internet fibre underground or overhead, but one thing is certain—to reach all of the necessary homes and businesses, these lines must often cross over (or under) many private properties.
A new power line construction project can have impacts on many different property owners in surprising ways. While you may not think installing power lines over your land is a big deal, you may later learn that the construction has damaged the value of your property, among other things.
Because many landowners are not initially concerned by the idea of power line construction, when the utility company arrives at their door with a power line easement, they willingly sign whatever paperwork that is presented to them. This is often a mistake.
If a utility company wants to use part of your land, always first consult with an experienced eminent domain attorney regarding your rights.
You may associate eminent domain with the taking of complete properties from innocent owners who then have to uproot their lives and relocate. However, when the government or a company—such as a utility—wants to use even the tiniest part of your land, the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution still considers it a taking under eminent domain powers.
A power line easement, otherwise known as a “Right of Way” easement, is a type of agreement or easement that gives a utility company the right to use, access or transit a piece of property according to the terms and conditions of the easement. This type of easement is usually a grant of permission given by a landowner that provides the utility company the legal right to install and upgrade and maintain those power lines in the future.
Building a power line often requires the utility company to obtain an easement from you, which is permission to access and use a portion of your land as it chooses. Granting a power line easement may seem like a minor prospect—but consider the following.
First, for any taking—even a small one—property owners deserve just compensation for the loss of sole ownership rights to that land. Power line easements can cause the following losses for landowners:
– Loss of productivity of the land due to buried lines
– Irregularities in soil that never correct themselves
– Residual damage to the land
– Overall decrease in the value of the land due to the attachment of an easement
Many utility companies will offer you a sum of money to sign away your rights—and this may seem fair at first. However, these offers are almost always much less than you deserve for your overall losses. A knowledgeable lawyer can fight for your just compensation if you consult with one before granting an easement.
At the law firm of Sever Storey, our eminent domain attorneys handle cases involving easements, partial takings, and complete takings of land. We have offices in Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, North Carolina, and Kentucky, and we serve clients facing eminent domain actions of all kinds throughout the United States. If someone wants to take your property, please contact us online or call us at (888) 318-3761 as soon as possible to discuss your rights.
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Before going alone against the State let us give you our opinion. It is our pledge that we will provide a free case review for any individual or business facing eminent domain or condemnation. Contact us now at 888-318-3761