When can a private entity exercise eminent domain?

The power of eminent domain is crucial to the government’s ability to take private property for public use. However, in Texas, private entities may also be authorized to exercise eminent domain under certain circumstances. Private entities may use eminent domain to acquire property for public use, but only if they meet specific legal requirements.

Here’s what you should know about when a private entity can exercise eminent domain in Texas:

Private Entities Authorized to Exercise Eminent Domain

In Texas, private entities can only exercise eminent domain if the state authorizes them. Typically, this authorization allows entities that are considered “common carriers.” A common carrier is a business or entity that provides services to the public, such as a pipeline or a utility company. To be considered a common carrier, the entity must meet specific criteria, such as being regulated by the Texas Railroad Commission or providing services to the public on a regular basis.

In addition to common carriers, private entities authorized to exercise eminent domain in Texas include certain municipal and county corporations, such as toll road authorities and water districts. However, even if a private entity is authorized to exercise eminent domain, it must follow certain legal procedures and requirements before it can do so.

Procedures for Exercising Eminent Domain

Private entities that wish to exercise eminent domain in Texas must follow a specific legal process. First, the entity must provide written notice to the property owner informing them of the intent to exercise eminent domain. The notice must include a description of the property to be taken, the public use for which the property will be taken and the compensation offered to the owner.

After providing notice, the private entity must engage in good faith negotiations with the property owner to acquire the property. If the parties cannot reach an agreement, the private entity may file a lawsuit in court to condemn the property. At trial, the court will determine the fair market value of the property and any damages caused by the taking. If the court finds that the taking is necessary for public use, it will order the transfer of the property to the private entity.

Challenges to Eminent Domain

Property owners in Texas have the right to challenge the taking of their property by a private entity. They may contest the entity’s authority to exercise eminent domain, the necessity of the taking for public use and the amount of compensation offered. Property owners may also negotiate with the private entity to sell their property voluntarily.

In Texas, private entities can exercise eminent domain under certain circumstances. However, property owners have the right to challenge the taking of their property and negotiate the compensation offered.