Florida Eminent Domain Law Firm: Protecting Your Property Rights

Eminent Domain

Florida Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is when the government uses its power to take private property for public use. The property subject to the eminent domain taking must be used for a public purpose. The eminent domain process typically begins when the government identifies a private property for public use—such as a road extension, bridge construction, public school construction, or urban redevelopment. The government will then provide an appraisal and offer to the property owner, and negotiations will start.

Are you facing the threat of eminent domain here in Florida? Do you need legal assistance to protect your property rights? Look no further than our eminent domain law firm. With a team of experienced attorneys, we specialize in advocating for property owners like you affected by government takings throughout Florida. We aim to ensure you receive full compensation for your property.

Where Does the Eminent Domain Power Come From?

Eminent domain is an inherent power of government that allows the government to take private property for public use. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution limits eminent domain power by requiring that private property can only be taken for public use with just compensation. The Florida constitution also provides specific laws and limitations that must be followed when a state entity here in Florida can exercise the power of eminent domain.

Who Can Exercise the Power of Eminent Domain?

The most common entity in Florida to exercise eminent domain authority is the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). However, eminent domain can be exercised by several different government entities:

  1. Federal and State Governments.
  2. Local Governments.
  3. Delegated Entities, such as utility companies, water management districts, or transportation companies (railroads).

When any government entity takes private property for public use, the government entity must follow the proper legal process and provide just compensation.

What is Just Compensation for Eminent Domain Property?

The government has to provide the property owner with just compensation. Just compensation means that the government must provide you with fair market value. Fair market value is what a willing buyer would pay to a willing seller for the property in its current condition and varies widely from property to property.

However, the government must value the property at its most profitable use of the property. The government must also compensate the land owner if any other losses occur due to the taking. For example, let’s say the government takes a portion of a gas station’s land to extend a road. Suppose the government taking of even a tiny portion of the gas station’s land prevents particular gas trucks from entering the premises. In that case, the government must compensate the gas station’s owner for the loss of use of the owner’s remaining property since the gas tanker trucks now cannot enter the gas station’s property from that part of the road.

Eminent Domain Appraisals

A significant part of the eminent domain process in Florida involves an appraisal. The government entity exercising its taking authority always hires an appraisal to determine the fair market value. Appraisals vary widely between different appraisers, and the government’s appraisal is usually lower than what it should be.

The appraisal should thoroughly evaluate the property, considering its current use, size, location, and other relevant factors affecting its value. Additionally, appraisals may also compare the property with similar properties in the area, assessing its highest and best use and determining the impact of the proposed taking on the property’s value.

However, the government offer based on the appraisal is often significantly lower than you would receive without legal representation. Property owners have many rights when there’s an eminent domain taking, such as the right to fair compensation and due process. It is highly beneficial for a property owner to hire a law firm to represent them in an eminent domain process so that the property owner can receive as much compensation as possible.

Highly specialized professionals perform eminent domain appraisals. The appraisers must follow guidelines and standards to ensure accurate and fair appraisal. The property owner always has the right to challenge the appraisal if they disagree, and it is always a smart idea to have an independent appraisal performed to compare with the government’s appraisal.

We always recommend that property owners challenge the initial appraisal since the government’s initial appraised value will likely be substantially lower than you should receive.

How to Receive Maximum Compensation for Eminent Domain Property in Florida

The most crucial step in receiving maximum real estate compensation is to obtain an independent appraisal. The government will have its own appraiser, and you should have your own appraiser, too. Your own appraiser will ensure that the government’s offer is fair and just compensation. It’s critical to hire an appraiser specializing in eminent domain cases since eminent domain appraisals differ significantly from regular appraisals. The eminent domain appraisal must look at business damages, relocation costs, severance damages, and any unique value that the owner may have with the property to determine the property or business’ fair market value.

We also highly recommend hiring an eminent domain law firm in Florida as soon as you receive information from the government that there is likely to be a taking. Florida law requires the government entity performing the taking to pay your attorney’s legal fees. An experienced eminent domain law firm will hire the best appraiser possible, and they’ll negotiate with the government effectively on your behalf based on the new, independent appraisal. And if negotiations fail, the attorneys will be ready for litigation to take the case to court.

Inverse Condemnation Compensation in Florida

Inverse condemnation is a little-known way that property owners and business owners can receive compensation even though the property is not subject to an eminent domain taking. This happens when the government’s actions take or significantly devalue a property without formally exercising its eminent domain powers.

Example: Dominick owns a piece of real property near a bridge that the Florida Department of Transportation is working on extending. Dominick’s real property is not subject to a taking. However, FDOT parks their vehicles on Dominick’s property during the construction. Dominick will be entitled to compensation under inverse condemnation since FDOT parking their vehicles on Dominick’s real property resulted in a significant loss of the property’s use.

Why You Should Hire Our Florida Eminent Domain Lawyers

Our eminent domain attorneys have many years of experience and are experienced in each stage of the eminent domain process. They will fight for you to receive maximum compensation for you and your loved ones. We represent you at no cost, and the State of Florida will pay us all our attorneys’ fees when we successfully increase your compensation. We represent homeowners, business owners, and owners of vacant land.

We understand eminent domains’ emotional and financial impact on individuals and businesses. Our mission is to provide you with skilled representation and fight for just compensation for your property. We are committed to protecting your rights throughout the eminent domain process.

When you choose our firm, you can expect personalized attention and tailored legal advice. You will receive the cell phone number of the lawyer you’re working with, and you can call us anytime. We believe in building strong relationships with our clients and fully understanding their unique circumstances and goals. Our team will work closely with you to develop a comprehensive legal strategy to achieve your case’s best outcome.

We represent individuals and businesses statewide. We have physical offices in Tampa, Venice, Sarasota, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and St. Augustine.

Our Eminent Domain Representation Services Include:

  1. Case evaluation: We will fully assess the details of your case, including the nature of the taking, valuation issues, and potential relocation costs.
  2. Appraisal analysis. We will pay for a separate appraisal to ensure that what the government offers you is what you should receive.
  3. Negotiation: We will negotiate on your behalf with the government or the condemning authority to ensure you receive fair property compensation.
  4. Litigation: We are prepared to take your case to court if necessary. Our experienced litigators will vigorously represent your interests and fight for your rights before judges and juries.
  5. Appeals: In the event of an unfavorable decision, we are well-equipped to handle appeals on your behalf.
  6. Relocation assistance: We understand that being forced to move can be a challenging and stressful experience. Our firm can provide guidance and support throughout the relocation process.

At our eminent domain law firm, we are dedicated to helping property owners navigate the complexities of eminent domain law. We have a strong track record of achieving favorable outcomes for our clients and are ready to put our expertise to work for you.

Don’t let the government take advantage of your property rights. Contact our eminent domain law firm today for a confidential consultation. Let us fight for what is rightfully yours.

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