Eminent domain rules are important for the overall benefit of the public. When there is a necessary infrastructure project, like a highway expansion or a fuel transportation line, the companies or state agencies organizing these projects can use eminent domain to compel owners to sell.
Those who do not take an offer will face condemnation proceedings that will effectively force them to relinquish ownership of their home or business. If you feel very strongly about protecting your home or an investment property that is at risk of condemnation and eminent domain proceedings in Texas, there are two different ways that you can potentially fight back and protect yourself.
Challenge the amount offered for your property
Neither the current assessed value of your property for tax purposes nor the amount you originally paid for it is the current fair market value. Your home may be worth thousands more or less than that depending on the current market. Especially when markets have made big moves in recent months, you may feel strongly about the offer for your property.
If a development or road expansion project moves forward during an economic downturn, the fair market value for your property could be substantially lower than it would be at times when the economy is strong. You can challenge demands to buy your property at an unfairly low price by presenting evidence that the fair market value is substantially higher than the amount offered.
Challenge your property’s inclusion
Sometimes, there is little question about whether or not a particular parcel is necessary for a specific project. A business that sits right at an intersection where the roads involved will both now expand to four-lane streets will usually be at risk in eminent domain proceedings.
However, especially if you have a rural property and the project is not tied to a specific geographic location, you could challenge the condemnation of your property by showing that they could route a gas line elsewhere, for example.
Both challenging the scope or plans of the project and pushing back against an unfairly low valuation for your home could help you protect your property ownership or at least ensure a fair outcome. Educating yourself about eminent domain claims in Texas can help you protect your investment in local real property.