Real Estate Term of the Day: Eminent Domain

Real Estate Term of the Day: Eminent Domain

EMINENT DOMAIN – the right of the government or a public utility to acquire property for necessary public use by condemnation; the owner must be fairly compensated (Barron’s Dictionary of Real Estate Terms)

A recent example of eminent domain use is the construction of the RTD FasTracks East Rail Line and the West Rail Line which took over several properties/businesses in order to construct the rail lines and parking structures.  Perfect timing for this blog post, as there is a story released today on 9NEWS regarding this very subject March 7th, 2012 – RTD eminent domain ends nearly 40 year tofu career.

RTD West Rail Line    RTD East Rail

How can I protect myself from eminent domain happening to my property?  Thorough research with the city and county that you live in could help uncover future plans that could potentially put your property at risk for eminent domain.  If you concerns about eminent domain, it is very important to speak with a lawyer who specializes in eminent domain law.

According to Law Care: “The final sentence in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states: “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” The power granted to federal, state, and local governments to cease private property is called “eminent domain”, and is also referred to as condemnation.

Under certain circumstances eminent domain is used only when it benefits the public interest. Governments have delegated the power of eminent domain to educational institutions, private industry, farming and mining interests, and other entities. Over the years, this has resulted in significant abuse. The 5th Amendment also demands “just compensation” to the property owner.

Compensation requires “just payment” to the property owners under federal and state constitutions and is intended to fully indemnify property owners in money for what they lose in property value. When only a portion of the property is taken, the property owner may also be entitled to the value of the property ceased as well as resulting damages to the remaining property.”


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