Florida residents usually welcome the development of new property projects in their cities for the economic opportunities they will likely create. But, if someone’s property has been appropriated for the project, it can leave them feeling confused as to their legal rights in the process.

Many property owners feel that the power of eminent domain has been abused in the past, and not everyone believes a given development project will benefit the community.

Eminent domain is a power granted to the United States government, states and municipalities in the U.S. Constitution, in the Fifth Amendment. In this process, private property can be taken for public use, given that just compensation is provided for the property owners. Government agencies often assert eminent domain to seize land and buildings in order to make highways, roads, airport expansions and trade centers. In some cases, governments seize private property through eminent domain as part of urban renewal or revitalization projects plans designed to make a city more attractive to residents and business.

Private property is taken through a process known as condemnation proceedings. In these proceedings, owners may challenge the legality of the seizure and the matter can be resolved with using fair market value as just compensation.

However, it can seem daunting to take on a legal action against the government and powerful business interests. In any legal proceedings, governments and big businesses make for formidable adversaries. It is crucial that property owners seek out help from experienced attorneys when they seek to assert their rights in an eminent domain dispute.