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Why the Government Uses Eminent Domain to Obtain Your Property

By on Dec 8, 2014 in Uncategorized |

The government is known to flex their muscle from time to time with the use of eminent domain.  The power of eminent domain is vast as it allows the government to seize any piece of property that they wish for a price.  The catch is that the property has to be determined to be absolutely necessary for the betterment of the public.  This could mean that a building or land is required in order to build a new highway, a brand new public school, or something such as that.  Why doesn’t the government go through different means to obtain your property, though?
Many property owners often wonder why the government decides to use eminent domain.  The reality is that no property owner wants to willingly give up the property that they have worked so hard to obtain.  If they are going to give it up, they will not willingly sell it for any price lower than their asking price, especially if they know it is desired.  Eminent domain is a power that the government uses because they have the write to by law.  This power, though unfortunate for property owners, is used for a few key reasons.  Let’s explore them in further detail.

No One Wants to Willingly Give Up Property

Think of a property owner that has worked their whole lives to get their dream home.  It could also be a business owner that has managed to acquire the perfect piece of land or set up shop in a very well-known office building.  NO one wants to just have to give up their property willingly.  If the government knocked on your door and said, “can I have your property,” chances are you would say no.  With eminent domain, as long as they can justify that it is for the betterment of the public, no permission is necessary at all.  This is why eminent domain is so often used.  No one is going to willingly just give up what they have worked so hard to obtain.  

Power to Obtain Any Property They Wish

Some property is harder to acquire from individuals than others.  Something such as intangible property that an individual has possession of is something that he or she may never give up on their own.  With eminent domain, though, the government can basically get their hands on any type of property that they wish.  Even if it is something such as a logo or a brand, eminent domain can be used to obtain it.  It does not have to tangible property.  It could be anything that the government sees that has an ownership component to it that is needed for the betterment of the public.

The Ability to Avoid Paying High Costs to Obtain Property

Think about a situation where the government asked you if they could buy something from you, without having any legal backing.  This could be something such as the home that you currently live in.  Chances are if you are going to give it up, you are going to charge them more for it than you normally would if you were willingly looking to get rid of it.  This is the basic concept of supply and demand.  If you own something that no one else has and someone needs it, you are likely going to be over-compensated for it.  Eminent domain only requires the government to pay fair market value for the property that they are seeking.  This can actually help them save money, avoid paying high costs for property that is above and beyond what they would sell for on the market.

The government uses eminent domain so often due to the benefits and power that it provides.  There really is not much in the areas of limits of what the government can try to obtain with eminent domain.  It may be a single-family home, an office building, or something entirely different such as intangibles.  All the justification that they need is that it is for the betterment of the public.  Once they determine fair market value, you are going to be pushed heavily to give up the property in exchange for that amount.  Eminent domain attorneys know state-specific laws that can help get what is rightfully yours in an eminent domain case.  The best course of action is to consult with an expert before you agree to anything with the  government from an eminent domain perspective.