Florida Law Prevents Eminent Domain Abuse

If you have been paying attention to the news, you have probably heard about a number of eminent domain abuses being perpetrated in other states. In New York, for example, you may have heard about the multi-billion-dollar corporate charity known as the Atlantic Yards project. In the ostensible name of "public good" property is being taken from homeowners and small business owners and given to a billion-dollar corporation for pennies on the dollar. Or you may have heard about the situation in Mount Holly, New Jersey, where developers have been uprooting residents of the Gardens neighborhood and handing their land over to Philadelphia developer Keating Urban Partners, which hopes to put in higher-priced townhouses, apartments, and a business center. This use of eminent domain is an abuse of the concept of "public good." Fortunately, Florida Law prohibits this use of eminent domain.

Prohibited Uses of Eminent Domain

First of all, Florida law prohibits the use of eminent domain to transfer property from one private owner to another private owner, except in cases where the land will be used for infrastructure projects, including roads, utilities, and common carrier systems. Eminent domain also cannot be used to eliminate blight, slums, or public nuisances. If a municipality is trying to take your property for any of these reasons, you have the right to fight the taking.

Full Compensation

Another way Florida law protects you from eminent domain abuse is by forcing municipalities to give you full compensation for your property. Full compensation means getting fair market value for the property itself. In Florida, you are allowed to argue that the value of your property should be considered taking into account its "highest and best use," which may generate revenue far above its current use. In fact, it should be equal to or greater than the use to which your property will be put by the developer to whom it might be given. This means that municipalities cannot "condemn low and give high"--they must pay you the full cost of your property, making many of these development projects prohibitively expensive.

True Public Good

Florida law ensures that eminent domain is used only for true public good, and that private sector projects live up the only standard by which they can be considered public good: they have the potential to generate enough revenue to justify buying land at its full value.

If your property is being threatened by eminent domain, at the Florida Property Rights Law Firm we have the experience to fight unjust takings and ensure that if your property must be taken you will receive the compensation you deserve. Please contact us today for a consultation.