Atlanta Regulatory Takings Attorney

Regulatory takings are often a result of the execution of re-zonings and land use planning practices. A zoning amendment can further restrict the permissible use of an owner’s land or worse; it can change approved uses in such a way that they no longer benefit a property owner. Zoning power can be broad and local governments may abridge the rights of its citizens by accident or without sufficient review of the landowner’s rights and circumstances.

Also, many claims arise when the government occupies some part of the landowner’s property without providing fair compensation in return. Sometimes the local government may cut off the access to the property when conducting road construction or repairs and sewer work project, ultimately destroying the value of the property. Usually, such an action results in an inverse condemnation claim against the local government.

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, the land use and real estate litigation attorneys at Hecht Walker, P.C. will work with you before the action by the local government, if you are notified beforehand, to try and enjoin the action.

If the action trampling your rights has already taken place, we will pursue actions against the government entity to seek compensation and to restore your rights whenever possible. The state of Georgia’s laws provide protections for property owners, and we remain committed to protecting our clients through the process.

What are regulatory takings?

Simply defined, regulatory takings involve a government body limiting the use of private property to a degree that deprives the property owner of reasonable use or value of their property. Whether you own a commercial structure, a residence or development property, the threat of government interference is always present and generally unwelcome. In some cases, a residential or commercial structure may actually even be condemned in order for the governing body to execute a broad public use of the facility. If these actions lend to a deprivation of the use of the property by the property owner, it then transitions to a “taking”.

What’s the Difference Between a Regulatory Taking and Eminent Domain?

Contrary to what many believe, eminent domain and regulatory takings are two separate actions. In eminent domain, the property is taken by the government when a greater public need is established. The property owner is required to be fairly compensated for the transaction. Regulatory takings also involve government action, but typically, the interest is in limiting the use of the property.

As mentioned, if the government becomes too restrictive to the point that it offers no value to the property owner, then steps are taken to compensate the property owner, much the way compensation occurs in eminent domain.

Atlanta Regulatory Takings Attorney

Why Do I Need an Atlanta Real Estate Lawyer for Regulatory Taking?

Unrepresented parties may not recognize their claim. When a claim is recognized, the part may not receive an offer that reflects the true market value of the property. Our attorneys will work with you to conduct diligent research and are committed to ensuring our clients are protected.

When do inverse condemnations occur?

An inverse condemnation can occur when a government agency or utility blocks the ingress or egress of a property owner’s structure, land or residence. Other types of inverse condemnation may relate to permitting, septic or sewer use, and other essential utilizations of the property. If the access or the use of your property has been cut off or substantially diminished, we will work with you to bring a claim against the agency depriving you of your use and/or access.

What are my legal rights in the state of Georgia?

The state of Georgia’s law provides certain rights for land owners when facing regulatory taking, eminent domain and condemnation property issues. If your property is being condemned, the government agency authorizing the process is generally required to compensate for your loss. Financial compensation may also be available in an inverse condemnation.

Why would the state of Georgia pursue regulatory taking?

Regulatory takings can serve many purposes in today’s society, especially in urban areas where growth is rapidly increasing. The first such regulatory taking was recognized by the Supreme Court in 1922. It laid the groundwork for similar actions that we see today. A city or county may regulate the use of property for many different reasons, including enforcing building and health codes, abating nuisances, zoning and planning issues and environmental protection.

Can a regulatory taking be challenged?

If a regulatory taking has a negative impact on your and/or the value of your property, you may be able to pursue legal avenues to have the regulation invalidated. This will require litigation and the help of a skilled real estate litigation attorney. The regulations that govern such actions are complex.

What is an example of a regulatory taking?

Consider this:

A Georgia resident owns twenty acres of forest land that he harvests for timber. In an effort to conserve wildlife, the state or county could approach him and deem ten of those acres as wildlife preserve. As a result of those actions, the harvesting of timber is now no longer allowed on those original ten acres because they are classified part of a wildlife preserve. This would be an example of a regulatory taking. Because the value of the property was so completely diminished to the property owner, there may be legal remedies available to the landowner.

Does regulatory taking mean that the government will actually take my property?

Not necessarily. Regulatory takings do not always include an actual “taking” of the property. Regulatory takings may be the result of rezoning or land use permits. A landowner may not actually lose title or complete rights to a property in a regulatory taking; however, the loss of some rights related to the property may occur. If the property is deemed to be more beneficial in a different capacity, a property owner may be required to limit its use in accordance with the new regulations.

What’s the difference between eminent domain and regulatory takings?

Eminent domain is the process that allows United States government agencies to exercise the power to use or take a landowner’s private property for public use, with the landowner receiving just compensation for the property owner’s efforts. An eminent domain typically includes the actual taking of the property, while a regulatory taking most often entails restrictions in how the owner may use the property.

If you are experiencing legal troubles surrounding regulatory takings, zoning and land usage, our legal team is here to assist. We will work hard to leverage our experience, legal knowledge and resources to help you reclaim your property or gain compensation for your losses. If necessary, we can help you address this civil matter through the courts, although some cases may be resolved outside of the courtroom. We respect your privacy so every consultation session is fully confidential. Contact Hecht Walker, P.C. today to discuss your case 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.