When you receive the notification that the government intends to force you to sell part of your land under eminent domain laws, it can come as quite a shock. You may be wondering if you have any options, or if you will have to give up your property without recourse. Luckily, there are a few ways you can legally present challenges to the government in an attempt to overturn their decision and keep your land.
The necessity requirement
Before the government can finalize the taking of your property, the law requires that they give you a hearing. You can use this hearing to object to the application of eminent domain law in your case on a number of grounds.
The government is not allowed to claim whatever land it wants for no reason at all. They must have a substantial justification for why they need your particular land. This gives you the opportunity to challenge the necessity of your land for their intended project. If they attempt to prove that your land is essential for their intended purpose, you can offer evidence to show alternate ways that they could complete the same result without taking your land.
The public use requirement
The law requires that the government show how the taking will benefit the public at large. In order to successfully apply eminent domain and force someone to sell their property, the government must show how the public will use the property and how it will not merely benefit a few individuals.
You can challenge a taking by presenting evidence that shows that the proposed use for your land will not benefit the public at large, or that it is a corrupt pretense to benefit certain people at your expense.
The compensation requirement
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees your right to receive just compensation for any land the government takes from you. The final way you can challenge an eminent domain taking is by showing that the amount the government is offering you for the land is lower than the land’s actual value. You can do this by obtaining independent appraisals.
Eminent domain is necessary for our society, but it can be extremely frustrating for the individuals who lose their land. With the right evidence in place, you can prepare yourself to present a challenge, and fight to keep your hard-earned property.