One of the most worrying phrases a property owner can hear in relation to their place is “eminent domain”. It means the government wants to take your land.
Eminent domain is a necessary law to have, as, with so much land being privately owned, it would only take one landowner to prevent crucial infrastructure from being built. Yet it’s not always used correctly or fairly — and, whether a particular project is crucial is sometimes hard to say.
Most development projects line someone’s pockets
Those that stand to benefit may push hard to convince the government that their project is essential, or that the line across your land is the only option when it’s not at all. Remember, eminent domain is designed to cover projects that are for the public’s benefit and you and your neighbors are members of that same public, so your well-being matters too.
Those who want your land may bring out the big guns to try and push it through, so it’s crucial you get experienced legal representation to fight back. Here are some of the things you might be able to achieve:
- Getting the project re-routed so it does not affect your land at all
- Persuading them to just take a piece of your property rather than the whole thing
- Persuading them to make temporary use of your land rather than take it permanently
- Getting a better price
The important thing is to avoid just assuming you will lose your land the moment you discover that the government intends to pursue a claim of eminent domain.