2 Things You Must Know About Condemnation and Eminent Domain

The Difference Between Eminent Domain and Condemnation 

Eminent domain gives the government the power to take a private property, including its title, for public use. When the government exercises its right, they are utilizing the legal process called condemnation. The US Constitution (5th Amendment) and state law require the government to issue fair compensation. Both parties must agree, or the condemnation begins, and a court will decide. 

What is a Taking? 

This occurs when eminent domain reduces a person’s livelihood, wellbeing, and/or property value. These factors typically aren’t considered in fair market value, and during condemnation, owners can present the court with evidence. 

Reasons for Eminent Domain 

The government and some utility companies use eminent domain for public purposes, including schools, prisons, highways, power lines, and government facilities. Public use isn’t always clear, and owners might discover plans to redevelop their property for private use not in the best interest of the public.

Those cases become government oversteps, and owners rarely receive fair compensation, including future revenue. If an owner can prove their property won’t be used for public interests, they should seek an attorney immediately. 

Property Owner’s Rights and Valuation 

The public often believes the government violates constitutional and state eminent domain regulations, such as proper notification or negotiating a sale before eminent domain. Other violations include non-public use for land, the act of taking, or below fair market value compensation. 

Owners should seek an independent property appraisal to determine worth. While the court will ultimately decide, appraisals are useful in challenging valuation before or during condemnation. Owners in California facing eminent domain should know their rights and have our experienced real estate and land law attorneys in Coachella Valley review their case.

 Real Estate & Land Use Attorneys of SBEMP


Marc E. Empey


Robert L. Patterson


Thomas S. Slovak


Brent Clemmer


Wendy S. Dowse


David L. Baron

 DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by reading it. This blog post may be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING in some states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained within this blog post. Before acting or relying upon any information within this newsletter, seek the advice of an attorney.