It seems like an unfair scenario; you own property in New York, and you are suddenly contacted by a representative of an state agency or department’s real estate office notifying you the government is planning to acquire your land whether you like it or not. You may wonder if this is legal and what steps you can take if the government is threatening to use eminent domain to take your property. Read on to understand more about the basics of eminent domain and your rights as a property owner.
What is Eminent Domain?
Eminent domain is a form of property condemnation. It’s the government’s right to take private property for a public purpose, also called a public use. Property rights are not limited to physical real estate such as a house or office – land, air, and water rights are also subject to eminent domain, and public use is defined broadly. A public park, low income housing, widening freeways, and even removing blight have been held to be valid. Though the government has great power to take your property, both the United States and New York Constitutions require the government pay you just compensation for your property.
Can I Dispute the Government?
If you believe your property isn’t necessary for the public purpose stated, you can appeal the determination with the appellate division of the Supreme Court in the county where the property sits. After a hearing and examining all facts and objections raised, the Court determines if a public use, benefit, or purpose is served by exercising eminent domain to acquire your property.
How Is Just Compensation Determined?
If New York exercises eminent domain on your property, they must pay you just compensation – usually considered its fair market value as of the date your property is acquired. Usually fair market value is the same amount as you would receive for willingly selling your property under current market conditions. If you and the government do not agree on valuation, appraisers are typically brought in during this negotiation process.
The government will provide an appraisal for their fair market value estimate and a list of any other benefits you will receive, but you may dispute this by filing a claim in Court. This process before the State Court of Claims will involve submission of appraisals and may even result in a trail for the Court to determine your damages.
New York Real Estate Lawyer
Property is a valuable investment, so it’s important to do everything in your power to protect its full value. If the government is threatening to use eminent domain to take your property, it’s important you speak to an experienced New York real estate lawyer at MOWK Law. We will help make sure your property is truly being taken for the right reasons, fight for you if it is not, and ensure you receive just compensation. We look forward to hearing from you!