How Eminent Domain Can Affect Your Real Estate Investment


Eminent domain has been in practice since the days of kingship. Municipalities use it to take private property away from citizens for other purposes. However, they must provide proper compensation in order to take that property. Here’s what you need to know.

Property Seizure

If the government entity can provide just cause for seizing your property, they can. The government entity must pay you an appropriate amount for that property, but they can take it. However, if you feel they have not properly compensated you for the land or are unsure about what it means, you should contact a real estate law firm Austin TX. Not all property seized is a large amount. Small amounts must still be compensated financially.

Public Use

The most common reasons a municipality seizes private property is for the building of roads. When roads become overly congested, roadways must be expanded which means buying the land alongside the existing road. They may need a few feet of land on either side to ensure proper shoulders, sidewalks or bike lanes. While it may be inconvenient for the homeowner to sell the land, the economic impact may be more over time with better commute times.

Short History

The federal government has changed its laws on the use of eminent domain over the years. The Fifth Amendment protects property owners from unlawful property seizure. The most common uses are for transportation, but public buildings, defense readiness and water supplies are other frequent reasons for a government entity to take land. Eminent domain was helpful in building the nation from railroads to national parks. The New Deal in the 1930s helped the government acquire tons of land for municipal projects from the Hoover Dam to historical sites. The use of eminent domain may change in the future, but for now, citizens are protected and expected to receive financial compensation for their property.

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