Restrictions for selling property taken through eminent domain

On Behalf of | May 17, 2019 | eminent domain

There is a lot of land in Florida and some of it is owned by private individuals and entities and some of it is owned by various governmental agencies. Private owners of land have many rights and generally no one can take the property from them unless they agree to either sell or transfer the property to another person or entity. However, there are a couple exceptions to that rule and one of them is that the government can take all or portions of private property to use for public use through eminent domain.

The government cannot simply take property though, they must have a legitimate public purpose for the land and must compensate the private owners for the land they are taking. There are many public purposes for land though, but there are some restrictions on what the government can do with the land. One of those restrictions is that they cannot take land and then sell it to a private buyer who may be able to generate more tax income through a new development.

The general rule is that the government must wait at least 10 years after taking property before selling it to a private entity. However, prior to doing this they must give the property owner a chance to buy the property back. There are exceptions to this rule though. The government can sell the property to a private entity prior to 10 years elapsing if the private entity is: providing common carrier services; building a road that is open to the public; utility companies providing utilities property owners; providing public infrastructure and if the property is leased and occupies an incidental portion of public land used for public purposes.

These Florida laws are in place to protect property owners from losing their land because a city may feel that a different, new development would be better for the city. However, there are still many valid reasons for a government agency to take private property through eminent domain. Private owners do have rights though and can challenge the takings. Experienced attorneys understand these complicated matters and may be able to assist.