What constitutes a taking of land through eminent domain?
The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution ensures that private citizens may not have their land taken from them for public use without just compensation. This provision is often referred to as the “Takings Clause” of the Bill of Rights, and Floridians often rely on it when they believe that the government is attempting to deprive them of their property. While a direct taking of someone’s land is a clear example of what the founders may have anticipated when they drafted the Fifth Amendment, changes in land use laws may also constitute takings of private citizens’ property.
For example, if a person purchases a parcel of land and intends to use it in a certain way, they may be deprived of their use and enjoyment of that land if their local government changes the zoning for it. A person who cannot use their land as they intended may argue that their land has been taken since it is no longer suitable for the owner’s necessary and intended use.
Additionally, a person may argue that their land has been taken in violation of the Fifth Amendment if they are not paid a just sum for the deprivation of their land. If a government pays only a fraction of what the private citizen’s land is worth, the government’s action may violate the law.
It is important that individuals whose land is subject to eminent domain proceedings seek the help of attorneys who work in the field of land use and real estate law. Individual advice should be applied to unique eminent domain cases and this post should not be interpreted as offering any legal advice.