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The Legal Power of Eminent Domain

Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is a legal power granted to the state with regard to all the property within the state. Eminent domain powers allow the state to actually take any property within that state to use for the sake of a public construction.

Eminent domain does not allow for the seizing of land without compensation, however, as the current owner of any land seized under eminent domain must be compensated with the fair market value of the land being seized. Eminent domain, as a power granted to the states, can be exercised in a court of law in order to ensure the sale of land in question, but a buyer might also be willing to sell the land to the state without any court intervention.

If the case of eminent domain sale does go to court, then the state government has a responsibility to indicate that the negotiations over the land in question were fair and performed in good faith, but was still unsuccessful, and that the government's purpose for the land is to use it for some kind of publicly beneficial project.

Not all eminent domain court proceedings will automatically go in favor of the government, as it is possible that the person currently in possession of the land will make a successful case that he or she should retain control of the land.

But if the case does go in the favor of the government, then the individual who owns the land will be paid a fair market value for the land, which will immediately be used to pay off any outstanding mortgages or liens on the land, and the government will gain full title to the land.

NEXT: The Process of Repossessing Property

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