The taking of a citizen’s private property by the government, or someone acting on behalf of the government, against the will of the owner sounds like something that should not be permitted. However, it happens all the time. The ability to take property against the will of the owner lies in the government’s power of Eminent Domain, and is accomplished by a process known as condemnation. The condemnation process involves hearings before special commissioners and, at times, litigation. This can be an overwhelming process for a landowner to navigate alone.
Many property owners are not aware of their rights when faced with condemnation and thus fail to act in their own best interests, resulting in being undercompensated for their valuable property. The Buchanan Law Office, P.C. can help you understand what the condemnation procedure is in Texas and how your property rights are best protected. Most importantly, we can help you obtain the greatest value for the property being taken. The Texas Constitution provides that only “adequate compensation” must be rendered. There is no true definition for “adequate compensation”. Therein lies the fight. Let us fight for you!
Article 1, Section 17, of the Texas Constitution provides, “No person’s property shall be taken, damaged or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person; and, when taken, except for the use of the state, such compensation shall be first made, or secured by a deposit of money. . . .”
How much you are entitled to recover is based primarily on the following factors:
(1) the value of the parcel being condemned
(2) the injury to the property owner’s remaining property, known as special damages.
Special damages are sometimes referred to as “resulting damages, damages to the remainder, consequential damages, or severance damages.” Whatever it is called, they all refer to the decrease in the value of the remaining land after the taking of the property in question. These damages could include items such as loss of frontage, loss of access to road or highway, loss of access to pastures, loss of access to a source of water, loss of natural drainage, cost of fencing or refencing certain areas, cost of restoration of property, cost of cleanup and other similar expenses.
The procedure for determining the value of the land being taken begins with establishing the value of the complete tract, then the part being condemned. The difference in the two figures yields the value of the uncondemned land beforethe taking. Next, the value of the uncondemned land after the taking is determined. This figure includes any of the special damages described above. The difference between the uncondemned land before and after the taking is then added to the value assessed on the condemned tract. The sum of these two figures yields the compensation due the landowner. This process requires that appraisals be performed on the landowner’s behalf, potential hearings, and possibly litigation.
The Buchanan Law Office, P.C., and its expert appraisers, will help through the process of determining the value of the land being taken, as well as the remaining land. If you have received a notice that all or a portion of your property may be taken pursuant to the doctrine of Eminent Domain, or a request for entry onto your property for the purpose of performing an appraisal by the government or its agent, contact us today so that we can help you obtain the maximum value for your property.