Just Compensation

What is Just Compensation?

In an eminent domain or condemnation matter, the government or other acquiring entity, such as a utility or railroad company, is required to pay a landowner just compensation for taking his or her property for a public purpose. The types or kinds of uses that are considered “public purposes” can be found in What is Eminent Domain or Condemnation? Just compensation is the fair market value of property, which is what a willing buyer would pay a willing seller for property if they were not forced to buy and sell the property.

the fifth amendment to the constitution from the dictionary

“Just compensation” comes into play at different times during the land acquisition and eminent domain or condemnation process. Typically, before an eminent domain or condemnation lawsuit is filed, the government or other acquiring entity will make an offer to the landowner for his or her property, which the government or other acquiring entity seeks to take. This offer is usually based upon an appraisal or appraisals that a real estate appraiser or appraisers prepares.  A landowner does not have to accept the offer that the acquiring entity makes to him or her.  Sometimes the landowner can negotiate with the acquiring entity about the amount of just compensation that he or she will be paid before and eminent domain lawsuit is filed.  If the landowner and the acquiring entity cannot agree on the amount of just compensation to be paid, then an eminent domain or condemnation lawsuit may be filed.

If a lawsuit is filed, the court will appoint appraisers to decide the amount of just compensation, and the eminent domain lawsuit may eventually proceed to trial when a jury or the court decides the total amount of just compensation.  Many times, though, the landowner and the acquiring entity will resolve the eminent domain lawsuit without having a trial.

A real estate appraiser is usually the type of professional who can determine the fair market value of property. Real estate appraisers are licensed and must to follow certain rules when they prepare their real estate appraisals. The Yasmin L. Stump Law Group, PC (YLSLG) legal team has more than 35 years combined experience handling eminent domain or condemnation matters.  This 35 years of experience includes assisting landowners with reviewing the offers that acquiring entities make to them and negotiating on their behalf before and after an eminent domain or condemnation lawsuit is filed.

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