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What does “full compensation” mean in eminent domain proceedings?

August 18, 2020 10:08 am
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When the government takes your property for public use, you may feel like you are losing out on a significant investment. However, the Florida Constitution guarantees you certain terms of compensation for any land appropriated under eminent domain.

How is full compensation calculated?

Full compensation in Florida almost always considers three factors:

  1. Your property’s fair market value – In an ideal situation, the government would compensate you the same amount you initially paid for your property. However, depreciation and real estate market fluctuations can change your compensation offer significantly. The government appoints appraisers to evaluate your land and come up with a number that reflects the amount of money you would receive if you sold the land privately. Oftentimes, the government selects these appraisers based on their tendencies to evaluate property on the lower end of the land’s market value. A skilled eminent domain lawyer can help you determine whether your appraisal was fair and accurate, which can help you receive better compensation.
  2. The market value decrease in your remaining property – An eminent domain action may seize only a portion of your property. As a result, the property that remains may diminish in value. In full compensation, the government would address that drop in market value in their eminent domain offer.
  3. Legal costs associated with your case – As with any legal agreement with the government, consulting an experienced attorney can help streamline the process and protect your interests. If you appeal the government’s initial appraisal of your property, you may incur significant legal expenses. Since attorney’s fees are an expected part of the eminent domain proceedings, the government may offer compensation to cover those costs.

What other factors may affect compensation?

In some cases, you may be entitled to business damages. If your business operated for at least five years on the property and the government does not take the full property, the loss of property could initiate costly changes or affect your everyday operations. In these instances, you can file a business damages claim within 180 days of your statutory notification. If the government takes your property whole, you would not be eligible for business damages.

An eminent domain action may mean uprooting your family or business and relocating, especially if the action claims most or all of your property. The government may cover your relocation costs in certain cases.

Review your offer with an attorney first

An attorney cannot help you prevent your property from being taken under eminent domain, but a skilled eminent domain lawyer can ensure that you receive full and fair compensation for the loss of your property.

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This post was written by Edgar Lopez

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