So, you just found out that you are facing eminent domain and your land will soon be taken for public use. Now what? You may feel helpless and think that giving in is your only option, however, you still have rights and there are things you can do. Here are some basic things to know about eminent domain in North Carolina.
What is Eminent Domain?
The government does have the right to take an individual’s property in any state, North Carolina included, and turn it into public use as long as compensation is given to the owner of the private land. This power is what is called eminent domain. While the government has the right to claim properties under this power, the taking of land being referred to as “land condemnation”, taking property can only be justified if the the government provides fair compensation to the landowner. What’s considered fair and just compensation can differ between the landowner and whoever seizes the property.
The Eminent Domain Process in NC
Here are the basic steps and what you can expect from a land condemnation proceeding in North Carolina:
- The government announces its project publicly and the areas that will be included. They might immediately also contact the owners of any applicable land as well.
- An appraiser will be hired and will determine your property’s value. The government will make a monetary offer for the land based on the appraiser’s evaluation.
- As the landowner, you can choose to either accept or reject the offer. Generally, accepting the first offer made is not a good idea. Rather, hire an eminent domain attorney that can help you assess if the offer is fair.
- If rejected, commissioners will visit the property, hear testimonies, review evidence, and determine if the settlement is just.
Can Land Condemnation be fought in North Carolina?
You always have the right to fight land condemnation, even in North Carolina. Remember, the government must satisfy the requirements of the use being for the public and the compensation is just in order to claim your property. The best way to know for sure if both are being met is to hire a North Carolina eminent domain attorney to fight in your corner with you. Only they will be able to help you know if you are getting treated fairly.