Condemnation And Inverse Condemnation
If condemnation is when a government agency takes land away from a property owner, it might seem logical that inverse condemnation would involve a government agency giving you property, but inverse condemnation is instead a condemnation process that is inverted, with the property owner filing a lawsuit against the government for property that has, in effect, already been taken, damaged beyond use, or seriously diminished in value without compensation.
If you believe the government has damaged your property, decreased its value, or even made it unusable, an inverse condemnation lawsuit may be able to get compensation for your property loss. Please schedule a free consultation with the Florida Property Rights Law Firm, P.A. today to learn more about your rights.
The Normal Condemnation Procedure
In a typical condemnation process, the taking or condemning authority generally first approaches the property owner with an offer to purchase all or part of a property for a public use project. If the property owner decides not to take this initial offer (which is often well below full compensation for the condemned property) a hearing is held to determine whether eminent domain can be used to take the property against the owner’s wishes. If condemnation is granted, the property owner is paid a “good faith estimate” of the condemned property’s value, and the condemning authority takes possession of the property.
At a later date, hearings are held to determine what full compensation for the condemned property is. If full compensation for the property is found to be higher than the good faith estimate, which it generally is, the property owner is compensated for difference, interest on the difference starting from the date when the condemning authority took possession, and reasonable compensation for attorneys’ fees, appraisers, and other experts the property owner hired to pursue full compensation.
The Inverse Condemnation Procedure
An inverse condemnation procedure is typically begun in response to a public use project that either did not use condemnation or inadequately used condemnation. Property owners find that their land is adversely affected by the project, whether by noise, loss of view, flooding due to drainage from new structures, or other aspects. No matter the cause, the value of your property has been seriously decreased. Some or all of it may have been made unusable as a result.
When you realize the impact of the public use project, you can begin an inverse condemnation lawsuit to get compensation for the actual damage done to your property by the project. Under the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act (Harris Act), you can even receive compensation if certain uses of your property are restricted by a public use project.
If you believe your property or your property rights have been affected by a public use project, you may feel powerless, but you are not. With the help of an experienced property rights lawyer, you can push back against government actions that infringe on your rights and your property. Using inverse condemnation or a Harris Act lawsuit, you can force the government to recognize and compensate you for your losses.