Eminent Domain Damages
When a property owner loses their property due to eminent domain, they are entitled to receive compensation, also referred to as damages. Depending on the type of property, the list of damages can be great.
Eminent domain is the government’s right to take property or part of a property that belongs to someone else for public use. This right is given in the Fifth Amendment, but it also stipulates that the property owner is compensated for the loss of property. The owner may be entitled to various eminent domain damages.
Fair Market Value
One type of damages is for the value of the property. Your property is to be appraised for its highest and best use, which may be different from the current use. For example, the current use may be residential, but the highest possible use may be as a commercial property, which would be a higher value.
If the property owner suffers a loss from the condemnation of the property, they may be entitled to compensation for the lost income. This can be a complex area to figure, depending on the type of business. For instance, a commercial property owner may lease the property to tenants who pay rent. They would lose out on this rent once the property no longer belongs to them. In addition, the tenant may lose out on customers if they are not able to stay in the same area.
Cost of Relocation
In some instances, the property owner may have to relocate their business or home to a new place. The expenses involved in the relocation should also be considered as part of the damages to be awarded to the property owner. For the business with a local customer base, they may have to develop their reputation with new customers, which could take some time.
The Cost of Restrictions
Not all takings in eminent domain cases result in a complete loss of the property. In some situations, only part of the property is taken, or new regulations are enacted, which impacts the use of the property for the owner. In these scenarios, the owner may still be entitled to damages if the taking results in a loss for them. The part of the property which is taken may cause damage to the rest of the property.
New regulations may mean the owner may be limited in their use of the property, which could result in a loss of income. An example of this is when an area is rezoned from agricultural to residential. The farmer may no longer be able to maintain his farm, which would mean a loss of income.
When determining a fair amount of compensation in an eminent domain case, all of these factors must be considered. The property owner can request a higher compensation amount than what was offered, showing evidence of any of these factors as a reason for the increased amount. The court would then have to decide if a higher amount is necessary to meet the requirements of the Fifth Amendment for fair and just compensation.