As a Florida property owner, it is important to understand your property rights, when your property is targeted for acquisition by a public agency, government entity, transportation authority or utility company as the condemning authority.
When a condemning authority prepares to construct or improve a public project such as a highway, school, airport, gas pipeline or power line, the condemning authority uses the power of eminent domain or condemnation to take the property necessary to build the project from private property owners like you. The eminent domain process is a very specific and complex legal process, requiring the skill of an experienced property rights law firm to assist you during an otherwise confusing endeavor.
Hiring our firm to assist you in the eminent domain process as soon as possible allows us to evaluate the options that are available to you regarding the condemning authority’s taking of your property. Our firm works with you and the condemning authority to gather information about the project and the property proposed to be taken to determine how to mitigate any damage to your remainder property, potentially challenge the taking altogether, and always fight for your right to full compensation for any property taken and damages incurred. These options require an in-depth of knowledge of the eminent domain process and experience to be effective.
Protect Your Property Rights With the Attorneys of Birchfield & Humphrey on Your Side
As a property or business owner facing the taking of your property for a public project, your early decisions and actions can have a great impact on the outcome you receive.
The government has a team of experienced attorneys, who will you have on your side?Contact one of our knowledgeable and skilled eminent domain and property rights attorneys to discuss your case. Call us today at 904.396.6625 to schedule a free initial consultation.
What is Eminent Domain?
Eminent Domain is the power held by a government agency to take private property for a public purpose provided just compensation is paid to the owner. Condemnation refers to the legal process used to take private property.
What is Just Compensation?
The Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution requires that just compensation be paid to a property owner when private property is taken for public use.
While the government has this enormous power to take private property, the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution guarantees that a property owner will receive "just compensation" for the taking. Just compensation is the amount of money a property owner must be paid for the taking of his or her property for a public use.
In addition to the U.S. Constitutional provision, the Florida Constitution, Article X, Section 6, requires that a property owner receive "full compensation" for the taking of private property for a public purpose.
The goal of condemning authorities during the eminent domain process in Florida is to acquire the right-of-way, or property that is needed to construct a public project, while making the property owner financially whole for the physical property taken and any related compensable damages.
Under Florida law, full compensation may include compensation for the property taken, damages to the remaining property, the cost-to-cure or repair any damages to the property, qualified business damages, and other costs reasonably necessary to make the owner whole. The cost of attorneys, appraisers, accountants, engineers, land planners and other professionals reasonably necessary to assist owners in their defense are paid by condemning authorities in addition to the compensation paid to the property and/or business owner.
What agencies have the power of eminent domain?
Most federal, state, and local government agencies have the power of eminent domain. Quasi-governmental entities such as utilities, railroads, and special taxing districts may also be delegated the authority to use the power of eminent domain. In addition, some private corporations such as oil and gas companies or private railroads may also have the power to condemn private property for the construction of projects that benefit the public.
Contact Birchfield & Humphrey Eminent Domain Attorneys
If your property has been identified for acquisition by a government agency, public authority or other utility company in Florida, call Birchfield & Humphrey at 904.396.6625 for a free consultation to learn how we can help. Our eminent domain attorneys have represented property owners throughout the state of Florida.
Birchfield & Humphrey attorneys are committed to guiding our clients through Florida's continually changing land use system. Our land use attorneys represent businesses and individuals in federal, state and local land use permit proceedings.
From the time at which your project is conceived, through financing, due diligence, project siting, permitting, and construction, our experienced land use lawyers understand the importance of avoiding delays and denials while navigating the regulatory environment through the completion of your project.
Our experience includes:
- Challenging Land Use Regulations
- Comprehensive Planning
- Development Agreements
- Development Entitlements and Permitting
- Developments of Regional Impact (DRI)
- Planned Unit Development (PUD)
- Planned Rural Development (PRD)
- Zoning and Rezoning
- Administrative and Judicial Litigation
The protection of property rights is at the core of our practice. When necessary, our attorneys will appeal government denials of land use and zoning applications. We are familiar with the alternative dispute resolution process provided for under Florida law, including such actions as the Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection Act.
Contact the Experienced Land Use Attorneys at Birchfield & Humphrey
Drawing from our experiences on all sides of the issues, Birchfield and Humphrey will guide and advise you on the regulations, ordinances and procedures necessary to see your project to fruition. Contact us at 904.396.6625 to schedule a consultation with one of our knowledgeable and experienced land use lawyers.
What is Inverse Condemnation?
Inverse condemnation occurs when the government acquires or damages private property without following proper eminent domain procedures or paying just compensation.
An inverse condemnation taking may or may not be a physical acquisition of private property. This can include the use or seizure of land or denial of access. Inverse condemnation is not limited to the permanent physical taking of property. It can also include a temporary taking of private property, such as flooding.
When government regulation burdens the use or enjoyment of private property the taking may be referred to as a “regulatory taking.” A regulatory taking occurs when government regulation prohibits all practical and economical use of private property.
In both inverse condemnation and regulatory takings, the government has acquired private property rights but has not paid just compensation to the owner. If your land has been taken without following the proper procedures, you can file an inverse condemnation claim to recover just compensation for the property taken.
Some Examples of Inverse Condemnation & Regulatory Takings
- Flooding a private property after road improvements changed the grade, slope or drainage in the area
- Installation of a fence, wall, guardrail, or sidewalk inside the property line beyond the government right-of-way
- Government refusal or denial of development permits renders a property unusable
Contact the Inverse Condemnation Attorneys at Birchfield & Humphrey
Inverse condemnation and regulatory takings cases are complex. In such cases, the property owner must prove that his land has been acquired without the payment of just compensation or burdened by government regulation so severely that the property becomes useless or loses value. A skilled and experienced attorney can outline a plan to help you recover the just compensation owed to you for the taking or over-regulation of your property.
The Florida eminent domain and property rights lawyers at Birchfield & Humphrey have successfully represented property owners across the state in eminent domain and inverse condemnation cases. Call us at 904.396.6625 for a free initial consultation regarding your inverse condemnation or regulatory takings claim.
When a government agency seeks to take private property for public use, proper pre-condemnation planning can help property and business owners protect their rights and avoid issues that could later prove costly.
Birchfield & Humphrey represent property owners, tenants, and business owners across Florida in eminent domain, inverse condemnation, land use and property rights matters. We work closely with our clients, to develop the right strategy to achieve their goals and protect their rights and interests.
Our attorneys have an extensive track record of reaching amicable, negotiated and creative solutions — securing settlements that reduce the expense, time, and stress associated with extended litigation. With proper pre-condemnation planning, we have been able to obtain benefits and concessions such as additional property or a land swap, project design modifications, zoning concessions, additional parking options and other enhancements. If a taking occurs, we will fight vigorously to secure full compensation while working to reduce the impact of the taking.
Pre-Condemnation Planning with the Experienced Attorneys at Birchfield & Humphrey
As a property or business owner facing the potential acquisition of your property for a public project, your early decisions and actions can impact your outcome. Eminent domain policies and procedures are complex, requiring the skill of an experienced Florida eminent domain attorney. Avoid costly pitfalls with proper pre-condemnation planning by contacting us today at 904.396.6625. An initial consultation with our seasoned eminent domain attorneys is always free.