A question I get from a lot of landowners when they're facing having their property taken through the process of eminent domain or condemnation is, "How can they do this? How can they just come in and take my property? I've had it for years. I bought it. It's mine. Why can the government just come and do this?"

Well, the power of eminent domain is long-standing recognized in the law that the government or companies, other entities that follow the process correctly that can obtain eminent domain authority as if they were the government based on building a public project can come in and exercise the power of eminent domain and the process of what's called condemnation to take private property, even if you don't want it to happen. Luckily, the fifth amendment of the US constitution and also the Texas constitution require that when this happens, when private property is taken by the government, you have to be fairly compensated.

I often get the question also like, "Well, if they can do this, is there any way I can stop them?" It's very rare that you're able to stop the eminent domain process as long as whoever's doing the taking has properly filed the paperwork and followed the procedures under the Texas property code, for example, to pursue the eminent domain and condemnation process.

To explore whether there's any way to stop it, it's good to talk to an eminent domain attorney about that but in most cases, you can't stop the process if the project builder has done their homework and proceeded correctly. So then what you're looking at is, how do you take care of yourself? And that means getting full compensation, the proper terms, fair terms to take care of you, your business, your family, whoever is affected by this taking of your property.

 

David Todd
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Austin TX Family Law, Personal Injury and Eminent Domain Attorney