The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution grants the government the power to seize private property in Florida or elsewhere through a process called eminent domain. In some cases, only a portion of a property is seized to build a park, expand a road or fulfill some other task that is in the best interest of the public.

Property owners must be compensated

The government is not allowed to take property without paying fair market value for it. Instead, it must compensate you for the right to take possession of your home or land. Several different methods may be used to determine how much your property is worth. For example, you could simply accept the first offer that you receive from the agency that wants to acquire it.

However, if private negotiations fail, the matter may need to be resolved in court. The government will likely attempt to convince a judge that it negotiated with you in good faith and has no choice but to take your house or land. If the government’s arguments are successful, an appraiser will be tasked with determining the fair market value of whatever is going to be taken. You will then be paid that amount and evicted from your property.

Businesses might be asked to vacate leased properties

Eminent domain may be used to take control of a building that your company is currently leasing. In such a scenario, your business has the right to be compensated for any improvements that were made to the commercial space. You also may be reimbursed for any rent payments that you had to make after vacating the premises. Your company also may receive compensation for any lost revenue related to being evicted from a warehouse, factory or office.

If you are faced with the prospect of losing your home or other property, you may want to consult an attorney. A lawyer may contest an eminent domain claim in court or help you obtain a fair assessment of your home’s market value.