Eminent Domain Business Damages

If you own a business and the property on which that business operates, you can be adversely affected by an eminent domain proceeding that takes all or part of your property and forces you to relocate. However, unlike property loss due to eminent domain, damages suffered by your business as a result of a taking are not necessarily considered a protected right. When you are a business property owner being confronted with an eminent domain action, it is crucial that you consult with a property rights lawyer as soon as possible to begin making plans to ensure you receive full compensation for your loss.

At the Florida Property Rights Law Firm, P.A., our attorneys help business owners defend their property against eminent domain and make educated decisions about the consequences of condemnation. Please schedule a consultation today to protect your property and the future of your business.

Business Damages not Constitutional

According to legal interpretation, business damages are not considered a constitutionally required component of "just" or "full" compensation. They are not considered property for the purposes of compensation, and are granted "by legislative grace, not constitutional imperative." In Florida, however, constitutionally protected compensation for a business does include some provision for the cost to your business of losing its present location. In appraising the fair market value of your real estate, appraisers should consider the capitalization of the income that your property is capable of producing through its highest and best use. You will also be compensated for the value of all fixtures and equipment lost with the property. This is supposed to compensate you adequately for the loss of your business property in the event of a full taking.

Partial Takings and Business Damages

However, Florida law does allow for business damages in some situations, namely when a business that has been at its location for 5 or more years and is forced to relocate as a result of a partial taking. When part of a business property is taken for a qualifying right-of-way, the courts may grant certain business damages. These damages are designed to reimburse a business owner for the costs of moving and reestablishing a business at a new location. Depending on how essential your location is to the life of your business, the courts may compensate you as through your entire business were destroyed, or it may merely consider the actual cost of a move and reestablishing your business at a new location.

A hearing for business damages is conducted at a later time than the hearing determining full compensation for your lost property. Since the compensation hearing will no doubt result in severance damages, and severance damages may overlap with business damages, the latter may be adjusted to avoid double payment.

Renters of Business Property

If you rent your business property, you are not eligible for business damages. Instead, you may be able to demand a cure for a partial condemnation, through the property owner, to ensure the viability of your business at its present location, or, if no cure is granted, receive compensation for fixtures and appliances lost during a move. In the event of a full condemnation, you can receive compensation for fixtures and appliances.

If you are a business owner whose place of business is being threatened by a condemnation, you need the help of an eminent domain attorney who can help you get full compensation, including business damages when applicable. The Florida Property Rights Law Firm, P.A. is prepared to represent business owners across Florida against condemnation lawsuits, and we employ appraisers who understand the importance of your location to your business. Contact us today for a free consultation.