When you purchase property, you are likely knowledgeable of the acreage of the parcel as well as your property lines. However, this could all change if the government seeks to take a portion of your property.
While you have the right as an American citizen to life, liberty and property without unreasonable government interference, the government can still take your property in certain circumstances through the process of eminent domain.
Understanding eminent domain
In simple terms, eminent domain refers to the government’s power to take a citizen’s private land for public use.
This power is defined by the Takings Clause, which is in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The Takings Clause does not grant the government permission to simply take any land it wants, but rather it limits the taking power of the government. It requires that the land taken must be for public use, and the land is taken in exchange for just compensation.
Types of takings
There are three different types of takings. The first is a complete taking. This is when the government purchases the entire property. The next is a partial taking. This is when only a portion of the property is taken. The final type of taking is a temporary taking. This is when the property is needed for a specified timeframe.
It is important to note that a taking is more than the government acquiring private property for public use. It often includes processes such as zoning changes and development plans. This could limit the way the property can be used and could even decrease the value of the property.
No one wants to lose all or a portion of their private property whether they have owned it for five decades or five days. As such, it is important that you understand your rights during a government taking. You have rights and options when it comes to preventing this taking or ensuring you are justly compensated if the taking cannot be stopped.