A Greater Houston Business And Civil Litigation Law Firm

Can I refuse eminent domain on my property?

On Behalf of | Aug 14, 2023 | Eminent Domain

Like many states, Texas is rich in land, comprising millions of acres devoted to farms, ranches and forests. Many of these are privately-owned working properties. Since the state does not have much public land, the government and private enterprises often acquire private property for public use. In these cases, can affected property owners refuse the taking?

Refusal is not an option, but a contest is

The U.S. Constitution allows the government to legally take private property for public use in exchange for just compensation. Hence, by law, property owners cannot outright refuse eminent domain.

However, owners can still challenge the government’s acquisition if there is proof that the government or private enterprise has not met the requirements for a valid exercise of eminent domain. These requirements include:

  • The government uses the property for a public purpose.
  • The government pays just compensation in exchange for the property.
  • The acquisition or any part of it must not deprive the owner of their property without due process of law.

Consequently, if the property acquisition is not for public use or the state fails to pay just compensation, then the property owner may have an action to challenge the eminent domain.

What can an owner do to get the utmost protection?

In case the property taking is valid, the property owner can still take measures to ensure the protection of their rights. For one, the government must pay the amount the property owner is entitled to. There are different methods to calculate the amount, but usually, it usually includes the value of the land or property and every interest the owner has in the property.

To ensure that the property owner gets the compensation they deserve, they need to obtain accurate property value, land use interests and other economic factors. If property owners are unsure what to look for in eminent domain compensation, it might be best to consult an attorney to understand the process and take measures to protect their rights.

FindLaw Network