The State of Arizona, many of its agencies and other government bodies have the right to take private land and put it to public use.
A common example of traditional eminent domain, which may also be called condemnation, is when the government wishes to build a road but needs to buy up private property in order to do so.
The government must pay just compensation for the land they take. Arizona law sets out what is just compensation, but the point is private landowners have the right to receive fair payment for the loss of all or part of their property.
As Phoenix residents can probably guess, there is more than one way in which a government can take private property.
Although there is an official process for eminent domain, governments sometimes attempt to sidestep this process. The government may, for example, block all access to a person’s land with fences or barriers, making the land effectively unusable.
The government may also pass so many rules and regulations that, even if a property owner can get on the land, they cannot put it to any productive use.
Inverse condemnation checks the ability of a government to control private land
Governments do have the right to pass laws and regulations, including laws and regulations related to land use. For example, most communities have some sort of zoning and land use plan, which property owners will have to follow.
On the other hand, governments can go too far in their activities to the point where they have interfered with a private citizen’s property rights.
In these cases, the citizen can file what is called an inverse condemnation proceeding and seek just compensation for the loss of their property.