Texas Eminent Domain Lawyers
Welcome to the Hardison & Associates Condemnation Eminent Domain website. Our goal is to provide exceptional legal services to all of our clients. We have offices conveniently located in Texas. Contact us
Ken Hardison, known as the “people’s lawyer,” has spent the past 20 years building a highly respected practice. Along with Ken and Associates, the attorneys that work for Hardison & Associates have the experience, knowledge, and overwhelming desire to get you the results you deserve. Our attorneys are committed to the highest ethical standards. While our practice has grown over the years, one thing has remained constant- – our dedication to personal attention.
Eminent domain is the power of the government to take private property belonging to its citizen’s for public use. It can also be called “condemnation.” Recognized public uses include, but is not limited to, schools, parks, roads, highways, subways, fire and police stations, public buildings, and the elimination of blight through redevelopment. A key attribute of eminent domain is that the government can exercise its power of eminent domain even if the owner does not wish to sell his or her property.
Generally, property may only be condemned for “public use.” However, some state courts allow eminent domain to be used for private corporations that hold public utilities, like electric companies and railroads. In order to take private property under the powers of eminent domain, the government must show that it would be used for a public purpose. Generally, the government is given a lot of leeway on what constitutes a public purpose; the only standard requirement is that there must be a public benefit.
Often the first step before condemnation is a redevelopment plan. You can get a copy of this plan, and find out if your property is included, by visiting your local officials and agencies for further information.
The following steps are taken during condemnation or eminent domain actions:
Initial contact by the government to express interest in your land and schedule the appraisal
Appraisal of the property
Offer to purchase the property is made to the owner
Notice of public hearing to adopt “resolution of necessity” to acquire the property
Public hearing is held
Discovery takes place and both parties hire appraisers to determine “fair market value” of the property
Final settlement offers and demands are exchanged
If settlement cannot be reached, trial of the eminent domain action takes place
Jury returns verdict and judgment is entered
If an agency condemns your property, you are entitled to “just compensation.” This is the value of your land and building. A property owner is not required to accept the condemning agency’s offer. Instead, the property owner may make a counter offer. It is possible that the developer will offer you more at the beginning of the proceedings than if you hold out and wait until the last possible moment. It is possible that, in a condemnation proceeding, you can show that your property is worth more than the government’s appraisal. It is always in your best interest to contact an attorney to help you in negotiating with the government for a proper award for your property.
There are many times when a property owner is successful in challenging the government’s right to their property. In those instances, the law provides that the eminent domain proceeding may be dismissed. The property owner, additionally, may be entitled to recover any and all fees associated with the proceeding. Important to note, however, is that even when a challenge is successful, the court has the authority to allow the government agency to correct procedural mistakes and proceed with the acquisition. Moreover, even if the action is dismissed outright, the government agency may start the process all over again; prevailing on the right to take challenge does not preclude the government from acquiring the property for all time.
If you will be going through an eminent domain or condemnation process, please contact Hardison & Associates attorneys immediately. Once notice has been served, you only have 90 days to vacate your property. Do not delay in contacting us, or it may be too late for us to help.
At Hardison & Associates, our attorneys have experience handling condemnation and eminent domain cases and we will do all that is possible in order for you to keep your property or to help you get the highest settlement offer that is possible. We will also be there to guide you through the entire legal process.