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Inverse condemnation in California

On Behalf of | May 2, 2024 | Inverse Condemnation

Compensation can be sought when a property’s value is diminished due to any form of government action. This legal concept is inverse condemnation and this applies despite the fact that there’s no physical taking of the land.

The basics of inverse condemnation

In inverse condemnation, a government project or regulation negatively impacts the property’s value. However, there’s no physical occupation that occurs. Property owners can sue for just compensation for the diminished value.

There are several key differences between inverse condemnation and eminent domain. In eminent domain, the government physically takes private property for public use with fair compensation provided.

Meanwhile, some examples of inverse condemnation are:

  • A flood control project alters water flow near a property, increasing flood risk.
  • A faulty equipment of a public utility company damages private properties.
  • A zoning change restricts development on a property, limiting its potential use and value.

Property owners can file inverse condemnation claims against government agencies and certain utilities with eminent domain authority, like power or water supply companies.

Points to consider

It is important to remember that California law protects property owners from having their land significantly affected by public projects or activities. If you are looking to file an inverse condemnation case, take note of the following:

  • California applies a strict liability standard in inverse condemnation cases. This means the government entity doesn’t have to be negligent or act with fault for the property owner to recover damages.
  • Compensation for property damage includes decreased property value, lost profits due to reduced business activity, and relocation costs if necessary.

By understanding inverse condemnation rules, California property owners are empowered to seek compensation when public projects or actions negatively impact their land.

Inverse condemnation cases can be complex. If you believe a government action has significantly reduced your property value, consider consulting with a legal professional specializing in real estate and inverse condemnation.