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What Kind of Property Can Be Taken Via Eminent Domain?

By on Jul 14, 2014 in Uncategorized |

Eminent domain gives the government the power to basically take a piece of property that you own in exchange for fair market value.  The government has to determine that the property is necessary for public use in order to use eminent domain to seize it.  So what constitutes private property in an eminent domain case?  Is it just limited to buildings and land, or can it expand beyond that?  Let’s take a look.

The Most Common Eminent Domain Property

The most common type of property obtained via eminent domain by the government is land.  This could be a situation where you own land in a town or city and the government needs that land for public use of some kind.  They will come in, justify the need for public use, and begin to make you offers for what they believe is fair market value.  The other very common type of property is actual real estate property.  This could constitute a single-family home or some other private residence.  It could also be something like a commercial space or office building.  Either way you look at it, eminent domain typically resides around a piece of land, a building or house, and/or both.

Not so Common Eminent Domain Cases

The government, through eminent domain, does have the right to take other types of property.  There basically are no limits in terms of what they can try to obtain, as long as they can justify that it is actually needed for public use.  The general rule of thumb is that any type of property that has an ownership component to it could fall under property the government can try and obtain via eminent domain.

So hat constitutes property that has an ownership component?  It could basically be anything that you actually own.  There have been instances where the government has obtained vehicles through eminent domain, certain types of historical trees that someone may own due to land ownership.

Eminent domain property does not have to be limited to actual physical property either.  Intangible assets can also be obtained by the government due to the fact that they have an ownership component.  An example of this would be a company that you own, or a brand that you have built up.  It could even be a trademark, an invention, something along those lines.  Basically, if you own it, no matter what type of property or asset it is, the government can obtain it via eminent domain if it is needed for public use.  Again, though, they must pay fair market value to do this.

Eminent domain is a scary topic for a lot of property owners.  We all work hard to obtain the property that we have, whether it be land, a house, or something different.  The pivotal point to remember is that the government can only execute their power to obtain this property if they properly pay you for it.  Eminent domain attorneys can help you determine what fair market value is so that if you have to give up your property, you are properly compensated for it.