Eminent Domain Attorneys in Ocala, FL
It may be difficult to believe, but the State of Florida can take your property without your consent. For property owners, this possibility can be frustrating, especially when they are vehemently opposed to giving up ownership of their property. Property owners have legal rights that the government must respect during the eminent domain process.
Our Ocala eminent domain attorney can help you fight to prevent the government from seizing your property for public use. If the government ultimately prevails in its attempt to take your property, our attorneys fight for fair compensation for the property. Call (888) 316-2131 to speak with our Ocala real estate attorney about an eminent domain proceeding.
What is Involved in the Eminent Domain Process?
Eminent domain is a legal proceeding whereby a government entity can seize the property of a private citizen for public use. Even though many of the eminent domain cases result in the property owner losing his or her property, it is very important to force the government to follow each of the legal steps in the process to take private property for public use. If the government is permitted to simply seize property for public use without going through the steps required by law for eminent domain, property owners could receive much less compensation than their property is actually worth.
Therefore, our Ocala eminent domain attorneys aggressively fight eminent domain cases when the property owner does not want to turn over the property to the government. We utilize all resources and tools to prevent the government from taking the property. However, our attorneys are also simultaneously working to ensure if the property owner loses the property, he or she is compensated fairly by the government.
The steps in a typical eminent domain proceeding in Florida include:
• Notice of Project and Properties — When the government intends to seize private land for public use, it must provide notice to the public of the specific project and the properties that are going to be impacted by the project. Public hearings are typically held after the notice to receive public input about the project.
• Valuation of the Subject Property — During the process of preparing to file an eminent domain claim, the government agency must inspect and value the private land that will be taken for public use. In many cases, an appraiser conducts an inspection and prepares an appraisal for the subject property.
• Offer for Compensation to Property Owner — The government entity makes an official offer to compensate the property owner for losing his or her property based on its inspection and valuation of the property. This offer is not an offer to purchase the property that the owner can turn down. The offer is simply stating that the government intends to seize the property under eminent domain and this is the amount of compensation it believes to be fair.
• Evaluating the Offer of Compensation — If you have not hired an eminent domain attorney at this point in the process, you definitely should hire one right now. Your attorney can evaluate the offer of compensation from the government to determine if the offer is fair. Your attorney may recommend that you retain an independent appraiser to conduct an inspection and provide an appraisal so that you can compare the value determined by your independent appraiser to the compensation being offered by the government.
• Accepting or Declining the Offer — If you agree that the offer of compensation is fair, and the government is likely to win its eminent domain case, you may want to accept the offer now to settle the matter. However, you have the right to decline the offer of compensation and fight the eminent domain case. Your attorney can provide key insight into the process and explain your options for fighting to prevent the government from taking your private property for public use.
• Condemnation Proceedings Filed with Court — If you decline the offer of compensation from the government, the government agency files a condemnation proceeding with the court to begin the legal process of taking your property without your consent.
• Trial — Fighting a condemnation proceeding under the laws of eminent domain is a complex undertaking. During preparations for trial, either side may make offers of settlement. If the parties cannot settle the matter, the case proceeds to a trial.
Contact an Ocala Eminent Domain Attorney for Help
Eminent domain proceedings are complicated and involve laws that many attorneys are not familiar with unless they routinely deal with eminent domain matters. If you have received notice that the government intends to take your property, you need an experienced attorney to protect your legal rights.
Call (888) 316-2131 now to discuss your case with our Ocala eminent domain lawyer. We want to help you protect your legal right to receive fair and just compensation if the government seizes your private property for public use.