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The Right Call

When can the government take private property?

One of your rights as an American citizen is the right to own property. You are entitled to purchase land and live in a home as you see fit, and it may be difficult for you to imagine circumstances where the government could interfere with that right. In reality, however, there are specific reasons why the government could attempt to take some or all of your California land through a principle called eminent domain.

Eminent domain is the legal principle that allows the government to take private property for essential purposes, such as expanding a road or installing utility lines. While there may be times when this principle is applicable, they cannot take property without notice. If you have received notification that the government requires a portion of your land, it may be in your interest to learn how you can fight back or pursue fair compensation for your property.

Is it necessary?

You have the right to challenge whether the government must take your property. There must be proof that having your land is essential for the completion of an important project that will serve the greater good or a necessary government operation. Not only can you challenge the need to take your property in the first place, but you can also challenge the amount of compensation the government offered to you.

If the government uses eminent domain to take your property, you can fight for fair market value. You can appeal for more money, supporting your claim with expert testimony and presenting comparable properties. In your fight against eminent domain, you can also challenge how much of your property the government claims. Excessive land-taking, unfair financial offers to landowners and violations of your constitutional rights are valid reasons for you to appeal to a court over your property.

Know your rights

One important factor in your success when fighting the government over eminent domain is knowing your property rights. When you are familiar with them, you will be in a better position to protect yourself and your interests. Before you accept an offer from the government or make any important decisions regarding your property, it may be in your interests to familiarize yourself with eminent domain laws and what you can do to shield your family from undue financial and legal struggles.

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