Eminent domain is the authority granted to local, state and federal governments to take or damage private property for public use, provided that the government pays the owner just compensation. This power can have a significant impact on commercial landlords in Phoenix, Arizona, who face the loss of access, income and the value of their property.
Courts have generally expanded the meaning of public use to incorporate just about anything. However, there are several examples of public uses that may trigger eminent domain in Phoenix. These include transportation projects, such as light rail, highways or bridges. Public use also includes utility projects, such as water, sewer or power lines. And, they include redevelopment projects, such as urban renewal or blight removal, and public facilities, such as schools, parks or libraries.
Procedures and requirements
When the government initiates an eminent domain action against a commercial landlord, it must follow certain procedures and requirements. The government must notify the owner of its intent to acquire the property and make a good faith offer based on an appraisal. Then, the government negotiates with the owner to reach a voluntary agreement on the price and terms of the sale.
If an agreement cannot be reached, the government files a lawsuit and deposits the offer amount with the court. In court, they must prove that the taking is for a public use and that it is necessary. And, the government must pay just compensation to the owner based on the fair market value of the property and any damages or losses caused.
Commercial landlord rights
The owner of the property has the right to reject the government’s offer and make a counteroffer. The owner can also hire an independent appraiser or attorney to represent their interests. They can challenge the government’s claim of public use or necessity in court. They can also seek additional compensation for any damages or losses not included in the government’s offer, like relocation, business losses, severance, etc.