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Condemnation occurs when a city, state, or federal government needs to acquire private property for roads, schools, urban redevelopment or other public use. This is called “eminent domain.”
A condemnation lawsuit is the legal process to achieve the government’s purpose. If the government and the property owner cannot negotiate the purchase, the government, under eminent domain, may acquire the property after depositing money equal to the property’s appraised value with the court.
Property owners whose property has been acquired under eminent domain laws have the legal right to recover financial losses. This involves going to court and opposing the government’s price for the property. Government lawyers then present their case to a judge. If you hope to prevail, you will need the counsel of an attorney experienced in condemnation and eminent domain law.
Your condemnation attorney will be able to assess the government’s appraisal of your property and advise you if it is fair or not.
Although eminent domain gives the government the right to buy private property for public use, a condemnation attorney can challenge the government’s decision to take your property and the government’s appraised value of your property.
Your condemnation attorney will gather all the facts about the government’s proposed project to determine if it meets a public necessity or public purpose. If it does not, your attorney can stop the project and the condemnation lawsuit. Your attorney also may argue that the project would be better suited to public necessity or purpose if it was built in another location.
If it is not possible to get the project stopped or moved, your condemnation attorney can develop evidence, witnesses, and experts to justify that the property is worth more than the government’s appraisal.
Many condemnation attorneys will agree to represent clients on a contingency basis. That means if your lawyer is able to get more money for your property, he or she will take a fraction of the money you are paid above the appraisal price.