What Is Condemnation?
- Condemnation is the process by which governmental entitles, utility providers, and others take private property for allegedly public uses. The most common type of taking occurs when a government agency acquires ownership and possession of private property through eminent domain proceedings. However, condemnation also can occur when government regulations or actions substantially interfere with the use or enjoyment of private property. This latter form of condemnation is known as "inverse condemnation."
What Is A Public Use?
- What constitutes a “public use” varies depending on the state where a condemnation is occurring and whether the proceeding is in state or federal court. Section 78b-6-501 of the Utah Code provides a list of public uses for which private property may be condemned within the state. Examples of public uses include: (1) roads, (2) public buildings, (4) reservoirs, (5) dams, and (6) pipelines. For more information on whether a particular use qualifies as a “public use” for condemnation purposes, please contact our office.
What Is Just Compensation?
Utah law requires that a private property owner be paid “just compensation” for any and all property taken or damaged through eminent domain or condemnation proceedings. Utah Courts generally define just compensation as the fair market value of the property taken or damaged. In addition to just compensation, private property owner may be entitled to relocation assistance and other forms of monetary relief. Because every property is different, determining the amount of just compensation to which a property owner is entitled depends on myriad factors and must be determined on a case-by-case basis. Please contact our office to discuss your specific situation.
What Laws Must A Condemning Authority Comply With Before It Can Take Private Property?
- Condemning authorities must comply with federal and state constitutional provisions, statutes, and case law when taking land by condemnation or eminent domain. The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides that “[p]rivate property [shall] not be taken for public use, without just compensation.” Similarly, the Utah Constitution states: “Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation.” In addition to these constitutional mandates, the Utah Code contains several procedural requirements and safeguards designed to protect the important rights of private property owners. Many of these procedural requirements and safeguards are found in Title 78B, Chapter 6, Part 5 of the Utah Code. For more information regarding the condemnation process and applicable law, please contact our office.
Why Hire An Eminent Domain Lawyer?
The laws and regulations governing the exercise of eminent domain authority are highly complex. Additionally, any time a condemning authority attempts to take private property, it is in its best interests to acquire that property for the least amount of money possible. Accordingly, if you are a private property owner and the government, an individual, or an entity is attempting to condemn your property, it is in your best interests to waste no time and obtain skilled legal representation from a trusted and qualified attorney. Our attorneys are highly experienced in condemnation law and have tried numerous jury trials to successful verdicts. We are deeply committed to helping protect your important property rights as well as your entitlement to receive the maximum compensation permitted by law. You do not need to give up your private property without a fight! Contact our office for assistance with your particular situation.