Your main risk in resisting condemnation of your property is that your final monetary judgment may be less than the initial offer. Another risk is that you will end up paying attorney and court fees.
There are three ways to resist a condemnation.
- You can claim that the monetary offer is not just or reasonable. When your property is taken through condemnation, you must be given just compensation. Just compensation is determined by assessing the value of the property at the highest price it would bring if it were placed on the market for a reasonable length of time and if the buyer was aware of all the features and uses of the property. Also taken into account are the possible future uses of the land or property, especially if its value would be higher if its use was changed. The court will consider the highest and best use when assessing the value of the property.
- You can claim that the government is not taking the property for public use, and/or
- You can argue it is not necessary for the government to take the property.
- The government will file a court action to use the right of eminent domain.
- A hearing will be scheduled and at that time, the government must prove its taking of the property is legally justified and that the offer it made to you was reasonable.
- At the hearing, you will have the opportunity to respond to the claims made.
- If either party is not satisfied with the final judgment, an appeal may be pursued.
Attorney and Court Fees in Condemnation Proceedings
Attorney and court fees will be involved. In some states, the court has the right to award these expenses back to you if certain conditions are met:
- The fees are reasonable,
- The original offer is determined to be unreasonable; and
- Your demand is reasonable.
In other words, if you win the case, you may be compensated for a reasonable amount of your legal fees.
Getting Help – Condemnation Law
If you do intend to resist condemnation, you will need a lawyer on your side in order to have the best chance of being successful.