Atlanta Eminent Domain Attorney

Eminent Domain is the legal term used to describe the appropriation of private property by the government for public use. In most cases the property is to be put to public use, for example for government buildings or new highways. In some states, property can also be taken if it poses a danger to the public. By law, the government may not take property without providing adequate compensation to the property owner. While it may seem unfair that governments have the right to take private property from their citizens, your best response is to use a qualified eminent domain lawyer to represent you.

Many people are unaware that the government possesses the right to take privately owned land for public use in Georgia. If the state can prove the land should be used for public use or if it’s deemed unsafe, eminent domain can be exercised. This is applicable to residential property or commercial property. Our Atlanta eminent domain attorneys can provide in-depth legal guidance on the process, your options and our recommendations from a legal perspective.

Can I prevent the state of Georgia from taking my land?

There is no definitive “one size fits all” answer. Landowners can challenge the efforts, and although some are successful, often the issue comes down to just compensation if the government abided by the legal process and proper grounds for imposing condemnation procedures. In some cases, there are inadequate justifications by the government and in these instances, a court may enjoin the action by the government. However, many of the state agencies, utilities and local governments utilizing this power have learned their lessons previously and abide by state law.

The case can sometimes be made that will allow a higher valuation process, which could mean a more satisfactory recovery for the property owner.

We diligently pursue fair compensation in those cases where there are no other options and the government has exercised its right to take possession. We contract with many well-known and respected Atlanta property appraisers in our efforts to ensure our clients are treated fairly.

Remember, the term “public use” is broad in this context, but most types of public benefit can be deemed appropriate. While Georgia courts can be relatively lenient as to what is considered public use in this sense, we caution our clients that the laws generally favor the government’s goals, especially in those instances where the land will be used for a railroad, utility facility or even if a civil engineer declares it necessary to build a roadway.

Atlanta Eminent Domain Attorney

How does the government determine the value of my property?

Before making an offer on your property, the government will use the services of its own appraisers to assess the property value. It then uses the appraisal to determine the offer made for your property. The initial offer may be too low. Again, this is why a knowledgeable Atlanta real estate attorney lawyer plays a pivotal role in these types of legal cases.

How does eminent domain work?

Eminent domain laws are traditionally advantageous to the government and its interests. Title 22 of the Georgia Code outlines the provisions for eminent domain as well as the required notifications that are part of that code. Our goal is to protect our clients’ interests until the case is settled or tried.

Will I get notification of eminent domain?

Yes, if the government is exercising eminent domain against any property or land that you own, you must be notified in advance. If they are condemning your property, Title 22 states that you must be notified in writing before that condemnation is filed. There are strict laws that govern the notification process and deviating from that process can be problematic and can affect the legal outcome.

Do local, state, and federal governments all have eminent domain powers?

That is a question that we are often asked. The answer is yes; each government body maintains certain eminent domain powers. Provided it operates within the confines of the laws, any city, county or state can exercise its respective eminent domain powers.

What’s the origin of eminent domain?

The power to exercise eminent domain is a part of our nation’s history and is referenced in the Constitution of the United States. It is incorporated into federal and state laws and constitutions.

The attorneys at Hecht Walker, P.C. will diligently pursue and defend your rights as an individual and property owner when it comes to eminent domain and condemnations. If you find yourself dealing with a government agency that is exercising eminent domain, your best first move is to speak with a qualified real estate law firm. There are often filing deadlines and other aspects of those initial efforts that will require a response. Therefore, it’s important for property owners to take action as soon as possible, contacting an experienced eminent domain attorney in a prompt manner.

Do Not Accept Anything But Fair Value For Your Property

There are many reasons to use an experienced eminent domain attorney, but the key one is to fight for the best value for your property. Many people think that you have to accept any offer the government gives you for your property. In most situations you will be provided with an initial offer that is based on the current property value, but you should never accept it. When the court determines value they base it on the highest and best use of the property. If you can prove that your property may be worth more than the current value, then the government is required to provide you with that compensation.

Hecht Walker’s Attorneys can get the Best Value for Your Property

Eminent domain law is complex. If your property is facing condemnation, contact us. Our attorneys have expertise in eminent domain law and are capable of determining the best possible use of your property so that we can demonstrate its highest value. In addition to eminent domain, condemnation is another area where our legal team can assist. Whether you have a 100-year-old commercial structure, undeveloped land or a commercial development that was just recently constructed, call the talented team of real estate, business and eminent domain lawyers at Hecht Walker, P.C. at 404-948-6434.


This information was posted on 08-23-2016 and does not constitute legal advice nor does it create an attorney-client relationship. The law changes on a daily basis, and the reader should engage an attorney through a written agreement before taking action in this area of the law.