What is Eminent Domain?
Eminent Domain is the governmental power to take private property. Eminent Domain is how state and local governments build roads, bridges and schools. It can be an effective tool for governments to use to improve communities.
The taking of property for public use was incorporated into the U.S. Constitution. The Fifth Amendment limits those powers: “Nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. ”In other words, you’re entitled to be paid for what they take. The law says that you are to be paid “just compensation,” but often you have to fight for it.
How can we help with Eminent Domain?
Smigel, Anderson & Sacks, LLP, is experienced in representing clients whose property has been taken by Eminent Domain, and our attorneys stand ready to serve you throughout Pennsylvania.
It is critical that you get qualified representation as soon as possible in the process so that opportunities for fair compensation are not lost. Consultation in advance of the actual declaration of taking is available, so that you know your rights even before the government takes action. Our firm can recommend expert appraisers and others to support your entitlement for the highest possible value, and we understand the tactics that the government might use to try to reduce your compensation.
As your Eminent Domain/Condemnation Attorneys, we will:
- Negotiate with PennDOT as soon as possible to maximize any initial offer as well as potentially modify the area of taking.
- File any Preliminary Objections to the taking, if warranted, in order to overturn the taking.
- Secure a speedy payment of your Estimated Just Compensation that you as the Condemnee are entitled to.
- Make sure that you receive any appropriate business dislocation costs and/or moving expenses.
- If your case is a residential taking, help you locate safe, secure and sanitary housing that is required to be provided for you.
- Work with qualified Eminent Domain Appraisers to help value your property at its highest and best use.
- If no satisfactory agreement can be reached, we will litigate your case before the Board of View and, if necessary, before a jury or appellate court.
- Secure for you the maximum reimbursements for professional fees allowed by the Pennsylvania Eminent Domain Code.
Compensation to which the property owner may be entitled:
- The difference between the fair market value of the property interest right before the condemnation and the fair market value of what is left after the condemnation has occurred.
- Reimbursement for expenses including appraisal, attorney and engineering fees, up to a limit currently of $4,000.00. Interest may be awarded for a delay in paying compensation.
- Moving expenses if the property owner is displaced from the property completely, including the removal, transportation and relocation of personal property.
- Business dislocation expenses, including loss of profits, subject to limits set by the law.
- Business reestablishment expenses, also subject to statutory limits, for expenses actually incurred in reestablishing a business.
- Replacement housing for homeowners and tenants.
- Other payments permitted by the statute and appropriate to the situation.
We know your rights, and how to protect them!
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