Under the U.S. Constitution, the government is allowed to take private property in furtherance of the public interest. In exchange, the government is required to provide the landowner with “just compensation.” In an ever-growing area like Los Angeles and surrounding communities, this exchange can lead to heated disagreements.
Just compensation is usually hotly contested in eminent domain disputes, and for good reason. The government is required to provide a landowner with the fair market value of the land that has been seized. This often leaves homeowners feeling cheated given the time and effort they have put into their residences, and the community ties that are being stripped away from them. However, through teamwork and careful negotiation, land can be converted for public use and benefit at a fair price.
There are a number of factors that play into a determination of just compensation. To start, a court may look at the fair market value of the land itself in addition to any improvements that have been made, such as new structures. Then, a court will determine if there has been any residual damage to the property, meaning that the taking of part of the property has decreased the value of the rest of the property. A court may also consider whether the property owner benefits from the taking of part of the property in question. If so, then even less compensation may be given for the land that was taken.
This determination leaves a lot of room for argument. Oftentimes, both sides to an eminent domain dispute seek out experts to testify in their favor, meaning that each side needs to be prepared to not only present their side of the case, but also lay out arguments as to why the other side’s position is unfair. If you think you could use some assistance in this fight, then it might be time to seek out legal assistance.