Our 100-Plus Years of Experience Will Help You Challenge Any Government Eminent Domain and Condemnation Action
For more than a century, the experienced real estate attorneys at Landis Graham French have been protecting the rights of Florida property owners in eminent domain and inverse condemnation land actions, and related land acquisitions by the Government and other entities, such as public utilities. If the Government or public utility is taking or unjustly restricting the use of your property with or without just compensation, we can help.
About the Eminent Domain Process
Eminent domain is a power of Governmental authorities (and certain other entities, such as public utilities) to acquire private property for public use, with just compensation to the land owner. In fact, much of the land used to complete public projects throughout Volusia County and the rapidly growing cities of Daytona Beach, DeLand, Deltona, Orange City, Ponce Inlet, Edgewater, Port Orange and DeBary was acquired through the eminent domain process. For example, if the county wants to expand a highway but there are several houses in the way, the county as the condemning authority can take the property through the condemnation process even if the property owners don’t want to sell. Or, perhaps a power company or gas company wants to put an electric line or gas transmission line through property owned by private individuals.
These are the general steps typically involved in an eminent domain process:
- A Federal, state, county or municipal agency, or other entity with condemnation powers (condemning authority) contacts the property owner to notify of its intent to acquire the land through eminent domain. You should immediately engage an experienced eminent domain attorney when you become aware your land may be taken.
- The condemning authority obtains a property appraisal and must attempt a good faith negotiation for the sale and purchase.
- If the condemning authority and land owner cannot agree on a price or if the owner refuses to sell the property, the condemning authority can file a lawsuit against the property owner to force the sale.
- Typically, the condemning authority will follow a process which allows it to acquire title to the property in a “quick take” after placing a “good faith deposit” with the court. That deposit can often be withdrawn by the owner while the case is pending.
- A jury determines the fair value that the condemning authority will pay to acquire the land.
- The condemning authority pays the jury award and seizes the property by force, if necessary.
Eminent Domain vs Inverse Condemnation
Government entities can acquire property in two ways, beside an ordinary purchase: They can claim eminent domain to force the sale of a property with just compensation. Or, they can take or restrict the use of the property without just compensation, which may constitute inverse condemnation. When land is taken through inverse condemnation the legal recourse is generally for the land owner(s) to file a lawsuit against the condemning authority after the fact. Another alternative might be to file a claim under the Bert J. Harris Act.
Property Owner Rights
As the legal property owner you have the right to challenge the government’s authority to acquire your land through eminent domain or inverse condemnation, and to challenge the amount of compensation to be paid to you. In addition to the land taken, you might also be entitled to business damages, moving expenses, costs to cure and damages to your remainder property. You also have the right to have your attorneys’ fees, expert fees (including fees of engineers, land planners, surveyors, and others) and many other expenses paid by the condemning authority.
Eminent Domain and Inverse Condemnation Attorneys
If you received an eminent domain offer for your property or if you believe a governmental authority plans to acquire or has encroached on your property, contact the Law Offices of Landis Graham French, PA for an initial case review at (386) 734-3451 today! Our attorneys have handled numerous eminent domain cases, have co-authored eminent domain manuals used by attorneys, and have lectured on eminent domain at seminars for attorneys.
Protecting property owners’ rights throughout Orange County, Seminole County and Volusia County, including Daytona Beach, DeLand, Deltona, Orange City, Ponce Inlet, Port Orange, Edgewater and DeBary since 1902.