Serving New Jersey Clients Since 1977

What is eminent domain?

Eminent domain is a hot topic among property owners and the government. Under New Jersey law, the state may exercise its right to eminent domain and use the property if it serves the public welfare.

What does this mean for someone who owns a vacant lot and the government tries to assert eminent domain? Discover what it takes for the government to take property.

What is eminent domain?

In some instances, the local authorities may believe that eminent domain is the only chance to improve infrastructure or provide other services to the residents. Eminent domain is the legal process an entity must go through during which they claim a piece of privately owned property for government use. The law requires that the government pay a fair market value for the parcel.

What happens if a property owner objects?

Eminent domain proceedings do not happen without warning. This means that in the months, even years leading up to the court action, the government has likely tried to purchase the parcel outright from the owner. If the owner continues to resist, the entity may appeal to the court to allow it to start eminent domain action to force the owner’s hand.

What does the court require?

To proceed with eminent domain proceedings, the government must demonstrate that it is within its right to force the property owner to sell. The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution protects citizens against the government seizure of private property unless the government pays a fair price for it and the intended use is for the public good.

While eminent domain proceedings do not typically occur anymore, it is not outside the realm of possibility. A professional may have the knowledge and experience to help someone get through it.