Severance Damages

Eminent domain cases frequently involve a government agency taking only a portion of your property, known as Partial Taking. Common examples of this are when the government only needs a narrow strip of your property to complete a road or highway construction project.

Many times the Taking Authority will try to get away with only paying you for the value of the property that they are physically taking without regard to how the taking affects the rest of your property. At The Florida Property Rights Law Firm, we believe that you are not only entitled to full compensation for the value of the property taken but that you are also entitled to full compensation for any damages the taking inflicts on your remaining property. How the taking affects your remaining property is known as severance damages  Severance damages can be a significant portion of your recovery, as the taking can affect everything from the access to your remaining property, changes in the use of the property now that it has been reduced in size, any negative impact on resale value as a result of the lot’s new proportions, as well as the aesthetic value of the remaining property because of the taking, including the actual or probable loss of old-growth trees or shrubs that formerly shielded your home from the road.

The lawyers of The Florida Property Rights Law Firm work with experts to ensure that you not only receive full compensation for the property taken but also for the decrease in value of your remaining property as a result of the taking.

In cases involving severance damages, the scope of damages is often not obvious. Severance damages are usually very difficult to calculate and are frequently undervalued by the taking authority, even if they recognize the existence of severance damages at all. Therefore, it is extremely important that you hire a qualified attorney from a law firm like The Florida Property Rights Law Firm to represent you in these situations, to make sure that you are fully compensated for any loss that may occur as a result of the taking.

Normally in determining severance damages, the courts in Florida take a “before and after” approach to determine the difference in the fair market value of the property before and after the taking. To help calculate this difference, the appraiser may also take into account the “cost to cure” which is described as the “cost of an attempt to ameliorate the damage to value sustained by the property as a result of the partial taking by the government.” Thus, what does the property owner need to do to place the property back in a usable condition. For example, if parking spaces were removed from the front of a business, what is the cost to construct new parking spaces that comply with all governmental regulations?

Additionally, the remaining portion of the property, because of its size, may no longer conform with other government regulations imposed on the property, (like setback requirements), which could result in significant damage and loss of value to the property owner.

Severance damages represent a highly complex and interpretive area of eminent domain law. It is important that you have an experienced Florida eminent domain attorney review your case to determine if all potential areas of compensation have been addressed.

If you have questions regarding eminent domain or severance damages please contact the Florida Property Rights Law Firm for a free consultation.

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