Municipalities often use condemnation to order that a property be vacated when buildings are in disrepair or dangerous in an attempt to improve an area. However, condemnation can be controversial when a California government uses its power of eminent domain to order that a property be condemned to make way for something else. How can the government do that?
What is eminent domain?
The legal doctrine of eminent domain indicates that state and federal governments have the ability to condemn property and transfer the title from private to public ownership. Typically, the governmental body doing so must notify the owners of property condemned under eminent domain about the procedure. In most cases, property seized through eminent domain must be compensated for when the governmental body decides to seize it. In these instances, the governmental body will assign someone to meet with the owners and discuss an appropriate amount for compensation. There is some room for negotiation in these circumstances, but the government will often downplay how much a property is worth.
Negotiations with the government for eminent domain compensation
Once a governmental body has stated that it wants to include a property in eminent domain, the property will usually be condemned and demolished. There is not much a property owner can do to fight the eminent domain designation, especially if the property is part of a redevelopment plan that will bring a decided improvement to the area where it is located.
If your property has been condemned under eminent domain for redevelopment, one thing you can do is fight for just compensation. Too many times, property owners sit back, thinking that the government will give them a decent offer. Working with an attorney from the beginning of the eminent domain process may give you a better chance for a fair price.