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Can Someone “Take” Your Home? Here’s What You Need To know?

Nov 20, 2020

20 Nov

Can Someone “Take” Your Home? Here’s What You Need To know?

by Harold Hudson

I know you’re thinking that no one can “take” your property, but the government can.  And your guard dog will not stop them but maybe a good lawyer might.  Here is who to hire if that were to occur.

An eminent domain attorney represents owners of private property who are faced with a government taking of that property under the government’s extremely broad powers of eminent domain.

To some extent, eminent domain is a simple concept. The government, whether it’s federal, state, or local, has the power to take property when that taking is for some legitimate public use. When it does so, that government must compensate the owner for the loss.

When that simple concept is applied to the real world, however, things quickly get complicated, especially if an owner is unhappy with the taking itself or with the compensation being offered.

That unhappy owner has the right to challenge the government’s action. He can challenge the substance, claiming that the state is not entitled to take his property. He can challenge procedure, claiming that the state hasn’t followed the rules. He can challenge the state’s offer of compensation, claiming that it’s insufficient.

Every owner who makes such a challenge is taking on a formidable opponent, and the battle will be fought under rules of engagement that are complex, inflexible, and completely unfamiliar to most owners. Meanwhile, they’re the rules that were – quite literally – written by the other side. To make matters worse, each government entity has its own rules. Your state has one set. Your city has something completely different. The opportunities for mistakes are endless.

At the very least, an eminent domain attorney will help level the playing field. He’ll know if you have grounds to challenge the taking and whether it’s worth pursuing that option. He’ll know whether the state has followed the rules, and he’ll know the rules an owner must follow. He’ll know what it takes to challenge a proposed valuation, what evidence to present and how to present it. He’ll know whether you can appeal a decision and what you need to do to preserve your rights.

The stakes in takings cases can be extremely high. This is not the time to be learning on the job, and, as the old saying goes, he who represents himself has a fool for a client. The law of eminent domain – complex, sophisticated, and ever-changing – is an apt demonstration of the truth of that saying.

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