What Are Your Rights in an Eminent Domain Case in North Carolina?

eminent domain lawyers in North Carolina

So, the authorities informed you they’re taking your land for public use. What now?

You may feel helpless and think compliance is your only option. However, as a property owner, you still have rights. Here’s all you need to know about eminent domain in North Carolina.

What Is Eminent Domain?

The government has the right to take an individual’s property and convert it for public use in exchange for compensation under the Fifth Amendment. This power is called eminent domain. Local, state, and federal governments, as well as other authorized private entities, can use eminent domain to take land from North Carolina residents like you, and it’s more common than you may think.

While the government’s right to claim properties is called eminent domain, they refer to the act of taking the property as “land condemnation.” Under eminent domain, taking a property can only be justified if the taking entity provides fair compensation to the landowner.

Unfortunately, what’s considered just compensation can differ between the landowner and whoever seizes the property. Property owners can benefit from working with expert eminent domain lawyers in North Carolina to maximize their property values.

Process of Eminent Domain in North Carolina

Here’s what you can expect from a land condemnation proceeding in North Carolina:

1. The government publicly announces its project and the areas included. They may or may not contact the owners of any applicable land right away.

2. The condemning authority hires an appraiser to determine your property value. They make a monetary offer for the voluntary transfer of your land based on the appraiser’s recommendation.

3. As the property owner, you can accept or reject the offer. Generally, accepting the government’s first offer is not a good idea. An eminent domain attorney can help you assess whether the offer is adequate. If you refuse to accept the offer, the process continues.

4. The condemning authority or the landowner requests the appointment of commissioners. The commissioners visit the property, review all available evidence, and hear testimony to determine the right settlement amount. If the landowner is still unsatisfied with the commissioners’ ruling, they can appeal for the case to be heard by a jury.

Can You Fight Land Condemnation in North Carolina?

While facing eminent domain in North Carolina can seem intimidating, remember that you have rights and can fight for them. Remember, a condemning authority must satisfy the following two requirements before they can claim your property:

  • Public Use: Your property can only be taken if the condemnor can prove that acquiring it is necessary for public use. On some occasions, there is a ground for challenging this notion. For instance, your North Carolina eminent domain lawyer can help provide evidence that your land is not needed for the project.
  • Just Compensation: The government should pay property owners the fair market value of the land they are taking, including the cost of damages or impact on the remaining property. You can fight the offer if you or your attorney feel it isn’t fair.

If your property satisfies the requirements of being used for “public good,” the condemning authority may claim it. However, you can still strive to get the best value for your property.

An expert eminent domain lawyer in North Carolina can help you understand the process and get the compensation you deserve. Their services may include:

  • Gathering evidence and testimonies that can help you secure better compensation
  • Working with appraisers to help determine an accurate value for your property
  • Determining if land use will devalue your property and how it will affect its overall value

Fight for Your Rights as a Property Owner in North Carolina

Eminent domain in North Carolina doesn’t have to be overwhelming as long as you have the right lawyer. Understanding your rights and how to take action can help you experience a favorable outcome if you face this situation.


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