About Eminent Domain and Land Condemnation

If you are a commercial or other high-value property owner, understanding the laws surrounding land condemnation and eminent domain is critical to protecting your rights and your property. 

What Is Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is the legal power of the government to condemn private property for public use. Over the decades, this power has been extended to non-governmental actors, such as utility companies, cell phone companies, and other private businesses, allowing them to condemn property for public use.

The 5th Amendment of the United States Constitution limits the powers of the government’s sovereign right, stating: “…nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” This section of the Constitution is referred to as the “takings clause” by the courts.

The courts define “public use” as use designed to benefit the public as a whole—rather than a private entity. Confusing the matter are diverse appellate court opinions at federal and state levels interpreting public versus personal use.

In North Carolina, few laws protect property owners from frivolous land condemnation or seizure under eminent domain. While the state constitution does not explicitly address eminent domain, Article I §19 states: “No person shall be taken, imprisoned, or disseized of his freehold, liberties, or privileges, or outlawed, or exiled, or in any manner deprived of his life, liberty, or property, but by the law of the land. No person shall be denied the equal protection of the laws; nor shall any person be subjected to discrimination by the state because of race, color, religion, or national origin.” The appellate courts have interpreted this article to similarly limit the government’s right to take property without just compensation.

What Is Land Condemnation

Simply put, land condemnation is the legal process by which a condemnor, usually a government individual or entity, seizes private land for a public purpose, benefit, or use under the power of an eminent domain. For such an exercise to be constitutional, the condemnor must show the project serves a public purpose and pay just compensation to the land or property owner.

Further questions about land condemnation or eminent domain? Contact Henson Fuerst by calling 919-781-1107 or submitting a form online.

Our Lawyers Work Solely for Property Owners Against The Government and Other Condemnors

If you are facing land condemnation, having a knowledgeable and experienced eminent domain and land condemnation lawyer in your corner is crucial for the best possible outcome of your case. Our firm has been representing property owners across North Carolina for over 45 years, with a proven track record of success. We will protect your rights and work to ensure that you receive the just compensation you are entitled to under the law. Contact us today by calling 919-781-1107 or submitting a free case evaluation form on our website.