"Eminent Domain" refers to the inherent right of the government to take private property for a public use. "Condemnation" is the legal process used for such a taking. While the government has this vast power, the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 17, of the Texas Constitution guarantee that a property owner will receive just compensation for the taking. If the government and property owner cannot agree on that compensation then, ultimately, they are entitled to have the judicial system determine it based on the law.
Under eminent domain law, the government only has the right to take the property for a legitimate public use. This means property can be taken to build a public road, to create a municipal park, to construct a school or public library, or to provide utilities. However, the power of condemnation is not limited to the government. Private entities also sometimes have the power of eminent domain if allowed by the law and if used for a project that has been deemed to be effectively a public use. For instance, private companies can force the sale of private property for oil and gas pipelines in some situations if used to further a common carrier function.
In blighted or deteriorated areas that present a threat to public safety, the government also has the right to take some property through eminent domain. But this right is limited.
Our team of Texas eminent domain attorneys can help you navigate the condemnation legal process.
How Does Eminent Domain Work?
The government’s taking of private property is referred to as condemnation. Condemnation does not mean that there is anything wrong with your property or that is being condemned as unsafe or labeled as a tear-down. Condemnation simply means that the government is exercising its right of eminent domain.
When the government determines that it will use eminent domain to take your property, it must appraise the property to determine fair compensation.
When the government makes an offer, you have the choice to accept or decline the offer. Declining the offer does not mean that you are entitled to keep your property; the government can still force the taking. However, our Texas eminent domain lawyers can help you present your opinions of what constitutes just and adequate compensation and that the government’s offer is below fair market value.
When Can You Fight Eminent Domain?
Stopping the condemnation altogether can be a challenge and is not always possible. In some instances, however, you can prevent the government from taking your property by proving that the government is not taking it for a legitimate public use. A Texas eminent domain attorney is essential to successfully stopping the condemnation since it can be difficult to prove that the government is acting improperly. Sometimes condemnations are stopped when the taking authority realizes the actual cost to acquire that will be involved.
Contact the Texas Eminent Domain Attorneys at Barron, Adler, Clough & Oddo, PLLC
If you are facing a regulatory taking, condemnation or other eminent domain action in Texas, contact the Texas eminent domain lawyers at Barron, Adler, Clough & Oddo, PLLC to learn how we can help. Our condemnation attorneys have represented more clients throughout Texas on more projects than any other firm – from Bexar to Collin County, Harris to Tarrant County – and our attorneys are focused exclusively on the field of eminent domain.
News & Resources
Determining Fair Value in the Central I-35 Taking Process
February 28, 2023
Owners can be awarded compensation for the negative impacts that the taking has on their remaining property, including loss of functionality. However, that impact often is not addressed in TxDOT’s assessment of compensation owed for a taking. It is up to the property owner to ensure that these critical factors are fully documented and considered.
Firm's Client, LoneStar Airport Holdings, Awarded $90 Million in Damages in Eminent Domain Case
February 21, 2023
On February 6 the ongoing eminent domain dispute surrounding the South Terminal at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport reached a turning point when the City of Austin was ordered to pay $90 million to LoneStar Airport Holdings — 47 times the amount the city initially offered.
Central Austin I-35 Expansion Plans Near Completion
January 17, 2023
Known as “Modified-Build Alternative 3,” the new preferred plan would impact 42 fewer acres than the alternative alignment but would still require the demolition of 107 homes and businesses along I-35. Other impacted properties will lose critical land used for parking and other purposes.
Texas Central Railroad Gains Power to Condemn Private Property for Bullet Train
June 30, 2022
The Texas Supreme Court handed down a 5-3 opinion on Friday in which the Court ruled that the Texas Central Railroad & Infrastructure Inc. does have the power to condemn private property for the proposed bullet train project from Dallas to Houston.
With more than 100 years of combined experience, Barron, Adler, Clough & Oddo, LLP has successfully handled thousands of cases representing landowners across the State of Texas, from Austin to Dallas, El Paso to San Antonio and beyond.
Put our experience to work for you.
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