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Your Property Rights Under Texas Eminent Domain Law

Posted on behalf of Stephens, Anderson & Cummings on Jun 13, 2018 in Firm News

couple analyzing property valueUnder Texas’ eminent domain law, the government -- and private companies in some circumstances – can exercise condemnation powers in order to force property owners to sell their property for a public purpose. This power may sometimes be used to take property in order to build new roads, run pipelines, run power lines, build parks, construct commercial shopping centers and for other reasons that are to benefit the public.

However, the government must compensate the property owner in a fair manner before asserting this power. Problems may arise when the government tries to take property for an improper reason or tries to give the property owner much less than the fair value for the property.

If you have received notice that your property is being taken under eminent domain, contact an experienced Fort Worth eminent domain lawyer at Stephens, Anderson & Cummings. Our attorneys can represent you every step of the way in an eminent domain condemnation proceeding to ensure that you receive fair and just compensation for your property.

Call (877) 920-9009 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced attorney today.

What Should I Do if the State Wants to Buy My Property?

Although many people work for years to buy a home and other real property and take great pride in this ownership, the government has the authority to force a property owner to sell his or her property to the government for a necessary public use. However, the government is required to pay the property owner just compensation to take the property.

If the parties do not agree on the property value, the government can file a petition. Before implementing the condemnation process to force the owner to sell, the government is required to:

  • Conduct an appraisal on the property
  • Try to purchase the property through a typical real estate property transaction
  • Make an offer in writing

If the property owner still refuses to sell the property, eminent domain is often carried out through the condemnation process. A board of three special commissioners is then appointed to review the case and determine a fair price for the property.

If either party disagrees with the decision by the commissioners, they can appeal the decision. At this point, it is especially important for private parties to be represented by legal counsel because of the technical requirements and the desire to protect a person’s property interests.

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

A lawyer can help you with all aspects of eminent domain matters. First, he or she can investigate to determine whether the governmental agency or private company is planning to use your property for an appropriate purpose.

The property must be used for the benefit of the public in order for eminent domain to be triggered. Permitted uses include using the property for:

  • Highways and roads
  • Railroads
  • Bridges
  • Schools
  • Commercial structures
  • National defense purposes

Under Texas law, increasing tax revenue and economic development cannot be the primary reasons to take land unless doing so would alleviate harm to society that would otherwise occur because the property is unsafe.

The Texas state constitution prohibits taking or destroying property without adequate compensation. A lawyer at our trusted law firm can hire an expert to evaluate the property properly and render a decision about its estimated value, so that you can maximize the compensation you receive.

Contact Us to Discuss Your Legal Options

If you receive notice that the government is planning to take your property, the best thing that you can do is to contact an experienced attorney who can help you navigate this complex process. At Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, our legal team can help evaluate the offer of compensation you receive for your property and determine if this is just compensation.

If the offer is for less than your property’s value, we can engage experts to fully evaluate your property so that you can receive the compensation you deserve. Our attorneys can also help you negotiate a fair compromise for your property value. If necessary, we can protect your property interests in court.

Our firm charges no upfront fees, and we offer a free, confidential, no-obligation consultation. We have decades of experience in personal injury law, car accident cases, property law and beyond, and we can put those skills to work on your case as well. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation to discuss your claim.

Call (877) 920-9009 or fill out our Free Case Evaluation form
to have a knowledgeable lawyer review your claim.