Who has eminent domain authority?

Eminent domain is the process by which the government can lawfully take property from private landowners. This is also called condemnation. It generally happens when the government needs to use the land in question for some type of public work, such as building a highway.

Who has the authority to use this power? The Landowners Bill of Rights states that: “Your property can only be taken by a governmental entity or private entity authorized by law to do so.” So, as a general rule, it is just the government or the state that has the ability to use eminent domain. But the government can also authorize other entities to exercise such power under specific circumstances.

How this impacts energy companies

In Texas, energy companies that are working on public projects often have eminent domain authority, which has been delegated by the state, giving them more power over land rights than other businesses. If you been have contacted by an energy company about selling or leasing your land, it’s important to remember that they may have eminent domain authority, meaning they can sometimes use this power to take land, even if a landowner isn’t otherwise interested in selling.

With that said, you can potentially challenge their authority and try to prevent this from happening, but if that doesn’t work, you still have the right to get fair and just compensation – fair market value based on current prices and an ever-changing market – for your land.

What is fair market value?

If an energy company does have the ability to use eminent domain, you may realize that there is no way for you to keep your land. Yet, you deserve to be made financially whole through just compensation, which should be paid out for that property.

But what does fair market value actually mean? There are many situations in which the government, perhaps through the energy company, makes an offer that doesn’t seem fair to the property owner. Even if they can’t keep their land, they at least want to know that they’re getting the financial compensation they deserve. Fair market value should reflect a commitment to provide reasonable compensation based on recent market trends and valuation assessments.

If you find yourself in this position, it’s important to know about all the legal options you have available, as you consider either challenging the authority and the use of eminent domain initially or challenging the amount of money that has been offered in exchange for your property. Seeking legal guidance is, therefore, likely in your best interests.