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What Should Property Owners Know About Eminent Domain Case Requirements?

Eminent Domain Case Filing

Before an Eminent Domain case can be filed and served against a property owner, the governmental or quasi-governmental entity taking the land, also known as the condemnor, must follow several requirements.

  1. The condemnor must have the authority to take land via eminent domain, have a public purpose for the taking and establish a necessity to take the land. If the taking is under Florida Statute Chapter 74 and considered a quick take, then the condemnor must also place a good faith value of the land in the registry of the court. These issues are decided at a hearing where the condemnor seeks an Order of Taking from the court. This is an evidentiary hearing where the condemnor must prove to the Court that they have the authority, that the taking has a public purpose and is necessary.
  2. The condemning authority is required to provide a written offer and an appraisal to the property owner and to negotiate in good faith for a resolution of the matter.
  3. Any business owners on the property, including lessees of the property owner, are required to be notified of the taking at this time.
  4. Other statutes require governmental bodies to provide other due process rights to the property owners and to the general public. For example, section 335.02 Florida Statute requires the Florida Department of Transportation to hold a public hearing in the area prior to finalizing the area to be taken.
  5. Counties and cities are also required to hold public hearings and provide public notice prior to finalizing the area to be taken. Sometimes, metropolitan planning organizations are also required to hold public hearings to determine the wants and needs of the area’s public in the design of transportation corridors and long-range transportation plans.

In certain cases, especially if the taking is for a road, the condemnor must conduct and provide a survey of the existing and proposed right of way lines. Further, the condemnor must state in the Petition for Eminent Domain that they are planning on using the area that they will take. The purpose of this provision is so that government can only use its eminent domain power where it is needed.

An Eminent Domain proceeding is one of the most serious proceedings that can happen in Florida courts, as it is a proceeding where the government can take an owner’s property away. It is important to hire counsel as soon as possible in the process to ensure that your rights are being protected and that you receive the full value of the property the government is taking.

Eminent Domain Attorneys

Finally, please remember that an Eminent Domain attorney is paid for by the government at no cost to you. If you have any questions about the information in this article or need to discuss an eminent domain legal issue, please do not hesitate to contact me.