The mere mentioning of the words “eminent domain” can strike fear in Arizona property owners. The idea that the state, a utility or a municipality can simply take property if it deems it necessary to do so might sound as if it is in direct contradiction to a person’s rights. However, it is the law that it can be done.
For condominium owners, they too are vulnerable to eminent domain. When it does occur, there are certain rights available to them based on the specific law for this situation. If there is a dispute or the law is not followed as it should be, it is imperative to have guidance with what steps to take.
Know the law for eminent domain with a condominium unit
When a unit or part of a unit is acquired due to eminent domain, the owner has the right to receive compensation not just for the unit, but also for the common elements of the complex. This is true even if the common elements have not been acquired as part of the eminent domain action.
This also affects the other unit owners. The acquired unit will have allocated interests. They are reallocated to the other units proportionally based on what they were before the unit was taken. The declaration must therefore be updated.
Eminent domain can be confusing and it is important to have help
Through eminent domain, the state, utilities or municipalities can seize the property. In some cases, that might result in a whole condominium unit or part or one being taken. This could sound complex to a condominium owner who, if they were aware of the potential for eminent domain at all, did not know that their individual unit could be taken in full or in part.
There may be options to fight the seizure of the property, but if it cannot be stopped then the owner must make sure they are properly compensated not just by the entity taking the property but also with their homeowners’ association. For assistance with these cases, it is useful to have advice from those experienced in all areas of eminent domain.