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Eminent domain doesn't happen without opportunity for challenge

Eminent domain refers to the right the government has to take certain private property for the good of public use. The government can't appropriate property without what is deemed fair compensation to the owner, but what you might consider fair and what is offered isn't always the same thing.

If you are a business landowner and you are dealing with an issue of eminent domain, it's important to know that you have rights in the situation. For example, the government cannot take the property, even when providing compensation, without providing you with timely notice of its intentions and allowing a fair hearing regarding the matter.

In most cases, the government serves the property owner with a notice of intent. That is followed by a period of negotiation and mediation. During this time, it's important to have appropriate representation for you or your business so you can ensure that you get the most for your property. If no agreement can be reached regarding the property, the government might condemn the property to force a sale.

Legal options do exist that can help you fight an eminent domain case. If you are able to successfully argue that the eminent domain action is not constitutional, you might be able to save your property. However, this isn't always the right course of action, because if you fail to make such a case, you could be stuck with the court costs. Sometimes, the best option is to negotiate the most favorable compensation. Working with an experienced real estate lawyer can help you understand all your options so you can make the right decision when facing eminent domain.

Source: FindLaw, "Challenging Eminent Domain," accessed June 03, 2016

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