Eminent domain gives federal and state governments the power to use private property for public purposes. However, it does not mean they can do so without restrictions. The U.S. Constitution restricts this power under the 4th and 15th Amendments. Property owners in Florida have some defenses when faced with eminent domain issues.
Lack of authority
A government entity cannot suddenly condemn a property, citing eminent domain. They must abide by state statutes that are general or specific. A case may be successful if an attorney can prove the entity didn’t have the right to a project it presumed to have. Evidence must show the state statute forbids that type of project or that it requires a vote.
Lack of purpose
The project must have a legitimate public purpose. If the intent of the project cannot be validated as legitimate, it could be a violation of the owner’s rights. Sometimes, government bodies carry out projects for tax revenue to revive older communities. However, most state laws prohibit this.
The property does not need condemning
Even when the government has a legitimate reason for a project, it cannot use properties if there is no reason to condemn them. Most laws restrict how much land can be taken for a project. Many cases have been successful using this claim, but it must establish that no extra property will be needed.
The owner is not offered compensation
Once the project has met all criteria for completion, compensation could be the only option left. If a property owner thinks that he or she isn’t getting a fair offer, that individual could negotiate a better deal using legal assistance. Appraisers commonly only factor in land value but not other negative outcomes for the landowner.
Understanding common defenses to eminent domain could prevent an unfair taking of one’s property. Each circumstance differs, so an eminent domain lawyer may be able to help settle the case.