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Can You Refuse Eminent Domain in Dallas?

Eminent domain is the government’s power to seize private property or real estate for the public benefit. Granted by the laws of Texas and the United States, the government’s authority to take or condemn your land is legal. However, there are valid legal grounds to challenge Dallas’s exercise of eminent domain. Our Dallas eminent domain attorneys at The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. explain your rights and whether you can refuse eminent domain in Dallas.

Eminent Domain Laws in Dallas

Dallas’s authority to exercise the power of eminent domain is not absolute. To be legal, the government must comply with multiple requirements. In Dallas, Chapter 21 of the Texas Property Code outlines the procedures necessary to seize your land. Additionally, the Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights provides many other requirements, including…

  • Only the government or companies with government authority can seize your property.
  • The government must give you adequate notice before taking your property.
  • Before beginning the legal eminent domain process, the government must provide you a fair market offer to purchase your property.
  • You can have the representation of our Dallas eminent domain lawyers during the eminent domain process, including the initial negotiation and any subsequent hearings or trials.
  • You have the right to challenge the taking of your property in court.

The three most common grounds for eminent domain litigation involve challenges to the appropriateness of the offered purchase price, the authority of the taking party, and the reason your property is being seized.

Who Has the Authority to Condemn Your Property in Dallas?

Only the government or a private company with authorization from the government can take your property. All other companies or individuals are prohibited from seizing your property through the exercise of eminent domain in Texas. You can challenge the condemnation of your land if it is being taken by a company without government authorization.

“Public Use” Challenges for Eminent Domain in Dallas, TX

Any property seized by the government through the exercise of eminent domain must be used for the public benefit or public use. If the government’s taking is excessive or arbitrary, you can challenge their action. Several purposes are easily defined as “public use,” including seizing land to build hospitals, highways, roadways, and utility and energy lines. Because “public use” is difficult to define, it is crucial to have our experienced eminent domain attorneys review the proposed purpose for seizing your property.

Excessive Takings in Dallas Eminent Domain Cases

Our seasoned attorneys could also challenge an excessive taking of your property. It is possible, in certain circumstances, to show that your whole property is not required for accomplishing the government’s stated purpose in seizing your land through eminent domain. Furthermore, your property might not be required at all – the public benefit could be achieved without the use of your property.

Adequate Compensation for Eminent Domain Seizures in Dallas

While it is difficult to refuse Dallas’s exercise of eminent domain, it is common to challenge the compensation awarded for your property.

Before beginning the legal proceedings to take your property, the government must make a good faith offer to purchase your land. To comply with state and national laws, the offer must adhere to specific requirements:

  • The offer must be in writing and presented to the landowner before any legal proceedings begin.
  • A certified appraiser must present a written appraisal of the property value to the landowner.
  • The government must present a final offer that reflects the appraised value.
  • The landowner has 14 days to accept or reject the final offer.

Unfortunately, the offer the government makes does not always reflect the real value of your property. Even with the assistance of our eminent domain attorneys, the government might not offer a fair price.

If you refuse the offer, Dallas will begin the formal process of condemnation. The first thing the court will do is appoint three local landowners as commissioners to review the compensation offer. These special commissioners hear arguments and review evidence of the property’s value before rendering a decision on whether the price is fair. You also have the right to appeal their decision.

Our Dallas eminent domain attorneys are committed to obtaining a purchase price that actually reflects the value of your property. This includes compensation for any possible devaluation of the remaining property that you might face because part of it was taken. Our firm has the experience and resources to represent you through the negotiation, the commissioner’s hearing, and any subsequent appeals. While you may not be able to refuse Dallas’s exercise of eminent domain, with the assistance of our experienced attorneys, you could be adequately paid for the property taken.

Call Our Dallas Eminent Domain Attorney Today

While you are unable to simply refuse Dallas’s exercise of eminent domain over your land, you do have legal rights. Furthermore, Dallas must adhere to several statutory requirements for the taking to be both legal and constitutional. Our business litigation attorneys have the skill and experience to represent you if your land has been condemned. Contact The Queenan Law Firm, P.C. to learn more about our services and how we can help you. Call us at (817) 774-9627 to schedule a free consultation.