Eminent domain is the authority of the government to take private property for public use.  Condemnation is the process by which such takings are achieved. The process of condemnation begins with the identification of a public need and a determination by the relevant governmental body that it is necessary to acquire private property to fill the identified public need. Most often there will be a period of public hearings where the issues are debated and the authority granted. Once the project is approved, the condemning authority will contact the property owners in an effort to purchase the needed property.

What is the Date of Value?

Because land values change over time, in order to make a present value determination, a court or a legislature must set a date on which to value the property in a condemnation case.  The date of take is critical in an Indiana condemnation process because it sets the date of value, the “as of” date for all appraisals.

The appraisal date (or effective date) of the appraisal obtained by the governmental entity that is attempting to take your property will be the date of the last inspection by the appraiser. Once a condemnation case is filed, the Court, by law, establishes a new appraisal date, commonly referred to as the “date of take”[1], and it is the date the landowners are served with a copy of the Notice to Appear[2] in court and the Complaint for Appropriation of Real Estate.  Since the effective date of the original appraisal may be from 6 months to several years before the date of take, it is frequently necessary to update the appraisal to correspond with the “date of take”.

The relevance of the date of take in pre-condemnation planning is significant. The landowner is entitled to use their property and improve it until a taking occurs. Any improvements made after that date will not be valued when calculating the condemnation award. That date also determines the relevance of proactive pre-condemnation activity to position the property advantageously and/or to acquire easements or access opportunities prior to the condemnation.

Contact an Indiana Condemnation Attorney

If you are an Indiana landowner and you believe that the government is starting condemnation proceedings, the experienced condemnation attorneys at Sever Storey LLP have the experience necessary to review the date of take and determine what steps are necessary to protect your interests. Please call today at 888-318-3761 for help.