It is terrible to think that the property you have owned for decades and you intended to leave to your children could be taken by the government. People who have been in their homes or owned land for many years have had to deal with the stress and frustration of a government action to seize their land against their will. Florida’s eminent domain laws allow the government to take your land against your will under certain circumstances.
Our Jacksonville eminent domain attorneys can help you fight an eminent domain proceeding. It is important that you hire a law firm that has experience defending eminent domain claims. Call The Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A. at (904) 248-4482 for a free consultation.
What is an Eminent Domain Action in Jacksonville?
Eminent domain is a legal process by which the government can take all or part of your property for public use. The government must follow a specific procedure, and it must pay for the property. In many cases, a property owner may not prevail on a challenge or objection to the eminent domain action; therefore, it is crucial to ensure you are compensated fairly for the property. The compensation to pay for a property being seized by the government is typically one of the most difficult elements of an eminent domain action.
In a typical action by the government to seize private property for public use under eminent domain, you can expect to go through the following steps:
- The Project is Announced — The government agency announces that it intends to begin a specific project for the benefit of the public. The project may include widening roads, constructing a public facility, or building a park. The notice must name the pieces of private property that will be impacted by the project. In most cases, one or more public hearings will be held to discuss the details of the project.
- Valuation of the Property — The government agency filing the eminent domain action proceeds to have the property inspected to determine the value. In most cases, the agency hires an appraiser to inspect and value the property. As part of the inspection, the agency must also determine if seizing and using the property for public use will impact the surrounding property that remains privately held.
- An Initial Offer is Made — The government agency extends a formal offer to purchase the property in question. People who receive an offer typically notice that the offer does not appear to allow for the person to keep the property. The offer simply states how much money the government is willing to pay for your private property. If you have not consulted with our Jacksonville eminent domain attorney, now is the time to do so. It is very important to ensure that you have an attorney review and respond to the offer. The deadline for your response can be very short, so call (904) 248-4482 now to speak with our Jacksonville eminent domain attorney.
- Accepting or Refusing the Offer — Your attorney carefully reviews the offer made by the government for your property. It is crucial to determine if the offer is a fair market offer. If the offer is fair, you must consider whether to accept the offer or if you want to fight to keep your property. When an offer is below market value, your Jacksonville eminent domain attorney can engage in negotiations with the government agency to increase the compensation based on evidence your attorney compiles verifying the actual fair market value for the property.
- Settlement or Trial — If you continue to reject the government’s offer for your property, the government will proceed with an eminent domain action. The agency petition’s the court to issue an order granting the government possession of the property for a specific price. An eminent domain trial can be a very complex matter that requires hiring several expert witnesses to provide testimony at trial. You need an experienced eminent domain attorney in Jacksonville who has handled these types of cases in the past and understands the laws governing eminent domain in Florida.
In addition to the above steps, an eminent domain action could involve many more steps and phases, as well as complex laws related to real estate and other areas. It can be difficult, time-consuming, and potentially costly to attempt to handle a Jacksonville eminent domain action without an attorney.
Contact a Jacksonville Eminent Domain Attorney for a Free Case Review
Our Jacksonville real estate attorney is an experienced negotiator and seasoned trial litigator. Therefore, our law firm can handle all eminent domain matters, including cases that need to be argued in court. If you have received an eminent domain notice or you are aware of a project that could impact your property, it is in your best interest to seek experienced legal counsel as soon as possible. We want to protect your legal rights and help you receive a fair and just outcome.
Contact Our Jacksonville Eminent Domain Attorney for a Free Case Review
Call (904) 248-4482 or using the contact form above to request a free consultation with a Jacksonville real estate attorney with The Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A.