Determining Eminent Domain Values

Real estate markets are always variable, but recently we have seen an almost unprecedented (and rapid) drop in property values. Times like these lend importance to the questions of when property value is determined for the eminent domain taking of all or part of your property. So, when is property value determined and how does it affect your rights?

Florida Law and Property Values

Florida Statute 73.071(5) states "Any increase or decrease in the value of any property to be acquired which occurs after the scope of the project for which the property is being acquired is known in the market, and which is solely a result of the knowledge of the project location, shall not be considered in arriving at the value of the property acquired. For the purpose of this section, the scope of the project for which the property is being acquired shall be presumed to be known in the market on or after the condemnor executes a resolution which depicts the location of the project."

What does this mean? This statute is primarily designed to protect condemning authorities from speculation on the market based on its desire to acquire certain parcels of land. If you are considering purchasing property at an elevated value because you know it will soon be acquired by eminent domain, do not buy! This is essentially a real estate scam!

Statute 73.071(2) gives the answers. Full compensation amounts are "determined as of the date of trial or the date upon which title passes, whichever shall occur first." In most cases, the condemning authority takes title long before you get your day in court. The government attains title to your property the moment it pays you a "good faith" estimate of the property's value. At this point, your property value is protected, no matter how long it takes for a final determination of full compensation for your property.

Real Florida Cases

The use of eminent domain for the improvement of Del Prado Boulevard by Cape Coral, Lee County is an illustrative case. In 2005, the Cape Coral City Council decided on a project to widen Del Prado Boulevard over a two-mile stretch. In 2006, a judge gave the city permission to take portions of 232 private properties for the project, and the city took title to the parcels of land. Although final values for full compensation are still being determined, the city must pay 2006 prices for the land, as much as $265,000 per quarter acre.

On Your Side

The combination of fluid real estate values, eminent domain procedures, and complex Florida statutes can be confusing to the average property owner. Knowing what your land is worth and pressing the taking authority for full compensation can make a big difference in what you receive. The eminent domain attorneys at the Florida Property Rights Law Firm, P.A. know the law and can stand up for your rights. Call or email us to schedule an eminent domain lawsuit consultation today.