“Eminent domain” gives government entities authority to take a private citizen’s property in order to put it to public use. This is sometimes called condemnation, or a taking. If the government did not have this power to “condemn”, our society couldn’t build the systems needed to function, including roads and transportation networks, sewers, electric systems and other utilities, parks and schools. However, our country’s forefathers knew that this power could not be unlimited, and therefore included in the Fifth Amendment of our Constitution the requirement that the government must pay property owners “just compensation” whenever it uses its power of eminent domain.
The condemnation process can be intimidating and have drastic impacts on your business or home life. While at times the condemnor (the agency acquiring the property by condemnation) will want to take an entire parcel of real property, often it just needs a small piece of your property (for instance, it may need a strip of property along your frontage to widen a road). While these partial takings may be less drastic than an entire taking, they can be more complex than full acquisitions because you need evaluate not just the value of the property being taken, but also the impact that it will have on the remainder of your property.
If a government agency is considering acquiring your property for use with one of its projects, it is important that you consult with an attorney familiar with eminent domain to ensure your rights are protected and the compensation you receive is the full amount you deserve. At Genesis Law Firm, our lawyers can advise you regarding your rights and the value of your property, whether the government has the authority to take your property for the purpose intended by the government, as well as your rights to monetary relocation assistance, which can include moving expenses and fees associated with finding a new property to replace the one being taken. Further, we can negotiate with the condemnor on your behalf, and if necessary, represent you in litigation to fight to get you fair compensation. We can walk you through the decision of whether to grant early possession and use of your property , or if it may be best to fight the selection of your property for use with a particular project. Our attorneys will work with an appraiser who will assist in determining the fair market value of your property and also evaluate the government’s appraisal to fight so you receive the full amount of just compensation you are owed.
With offices in Everett and Seattle, we have a condemnation attorney to help you with your eminent domain needs anywhere in King County or Snohomish County. Mandarin Chinese interpretation is available by request.