Eminent Domain

A Decatur, Georgia law firm counseling its clients in matters of eminent domain

Also called “Takings” or “Condemnation,” Eminent Domain generally refers to the power of the federal government, as well as state governments and municipalities, to convert private property to public property in order to achieve a legitimate public purpose or for a public project and in exchange for just compensation.

When a governmental entity permanently converts the private property to public use, to build a school or a walking path, for example, it does so using eminent domain. In Georgia, the governmental entity seeking to put private property to public use must comply strictly with certain constitutional and statutory requirements, including appraisal, notice, good faith negotiations, and consideration of alternative locations, prior to initiating a formal condemnation action.

Inverse Condemnation, on the other hand, occurs when the governmental entity appropriates private property without paying just compensation and without following eminent domain procedure. In cases of Inverse Condemnation, the government’s occupation of the property is temporary, rather than permanent, or is regulatory, rather than physical. A Regulatory Taking occurs when a land use or zoning regulation causes a diminution in value so extreme that it deprives a property owner of all economically viable use of their property. In such cases, the property owner may be entitled to just compensation and/or may seek to have that regulation struck down as an unconstitutional Inverse Condemnation.

Calculating just compensation involves evaluating the difference in the value of the property before and after the taking and depends on a variety of factors including the fair market value of the property, the duration and extent of the governmental entity’s occupation of the property, whether the taking is physical or regulatory, and whether the taking deprives the property of its economic use.

Eminent Domain Lawyers

Eminent Domain is a highly complex and ever-evolving area of the United States, and Georgia constitutional law and property owners must do a great deal of information gathering and analysis in order to ensure their rights are protected. Williams Teusink has successfully represented property owners in recovering just compensation for damages caused by sewage backups and other temporary occupations of private property.

Eminent Domain in Atlanta, Georgia

Because we have represented property owners and government entities in matters of Eminent Domain, our real estate attorneys are uniquely experienced in the complexities of Georgia and federal Eminent Domain law.