When municipal entities and counties in Southern California obtain land for public use and benefit, they know that they sometimes put landowners in a tough spot. Construction for these projects can impose additional burdens on landowners, as can losing a section of land or land rights. However, despite the hardships, landowners who are subject to eminent domain takings are entitled to “just compensation” – not a windfall.
Valuing land and land rights can be a somewhat subjective process, as different appraisers may have different opinions. But, it is in the interests of condemning authorities to get the value right the first time, so that landowners will accept initial offers and litigation is not necessary. Unfortunately, sometimes landowners have a significantly different view of the value of their property. When this occurs, focusing on the meaning of “just compensation” may be beneficial for all parties involved.
Just compensation is meant to put the landowner in a position similar to that which would have existed if the “taking” had not occurred. In the vast majority of cases, that means financial compensation for the value of land or land rights, buildings or other improvements and other damages that result from the taking. While in some cases the amount of financial compensation can be quite high, depending on the project, that isn’t always the case, despite the protestations of landowners.
At our law firm, we know that public entities that are completing improvement projects are on tight schedules and budgets. Arguments about the amount of just compensation can bog things down significantly. We do our best to help in these situations. For more information, please visit the eminent domain overview section of our law firm’s website.