As a property owner, you dutifully paid your taxes and obeyed local and state laws. You never expected that the state of Florida would claim your building through eminent domain. But now, your private property is facing condemnation. You feel powerless, angry and overwhelmed by this turn of events.
By law, the state must pay you fair compensation. But you do not want to sell it. What will happen if you refuse to relinquish your property to the government?
If I refuse, what is next?
After the government conducts its appraisal and makes an offer, you will have the opportunity to accept or decline. Assuming you decline, the government will file an action in court to seize your property through eminent domain.
Then, the court schedules an Order of Taking. This is a court hearing in which the government argues that it attempted to purchase your land for a fair price and is justified in seizing it for public use. The hearing is also your chance to present your case and argue against condemnation.
If the court rules in your favor, then the condemnation proceedings will be put on hold or terminated. But if the court grants the government’s request for a forced sale, you will proceed to a new trial. This will establish the full compensation and additional damages for your land. You can work with your own appraiser and attorney to argue for the highest possible sum.
Should I sell, or fight?
Fighting a condemnation can be time-consuming and expensive. The time and energy that you expend may not be worth it in the end. However, fighting the eminent domain process may get you a higher price for your property—or prevent the condemnation altogether. For many landowners, proceeding to court to formally challenge the eminent domain process is a symbolic and worthwhile demonstration of their rights. These are important factors to consider as you move forward with your eminent domain case.