The government typically cannot take your land without providing you with some type of compensation. This doesn’t mean that they can’t take it for certain purposes, which is why eminent domain laws were created. There are times when they will need to use a property owner’s land for something like a highway expansion or the installation of other things that have a benefit for society as a whole, such as a hospital.
While it is true that the government has to give you this compensation, the downside is that the law simply says, you deserve just compensation for your property. But how do you decide if it is just? What if the government offers you an amount of money that you think is completely unfair? The mere fact that they have to give you some compensation doesn’t mean that the two sides are going to agree on exactly what is required.
The fluctuation of property values
One thing to keep in mind, of course, is that property values are very far from static. Say that you have a home that you paid $200,000 for, but you bought it in 2005. What is that home going to be worth today? You purchased it before the crash in 2009, but also before we saw property values rebound around 2011 and 2012. Certainly, in 2021 and 2022, property values in most of the country tended to soar and even set record increases.
In other words, if the government offers you the same amount of money that you initially paid for your property, you don’t necessarily have to accept that as a fair or just payment. It may be much below what you would get if you were to sell the property to someone else on the open market. The government won’t let you do that, naturally, because they need that land for the project. But you still deserve to have just compensation and you can argue that the amount you would get on the open market is what is truly a fair price for that property.
This whole process can get to be fairly complicated, so make sure you know what legal steps to take.