What to Know about Eminent Domain in Georgia

Eminent domain is a complicated concept, but it essentially means the government has the power to take your home if it deems it necessary for public use. If you are like many Georgia residents, you may not fully comprehend eminent domain and whether you have any rights with regard to it, so it is important to develop an understanding so you can recognize whether you are being taken advantage of.

The State of Georgia has a “Landowner’s Bill of Rights,” which dictates that the party exercising the power of eminent domain must notify you, as a homeowner, in writing about the plan to take your property for public use. The notification must include information about just how your property would serve a public need, and it also must include information about your rights with regard to eminent domain.

Who has the power to exercise eminent domain?

Government entities typically have the power to exercise eminent domain, and this is true for government organizations at the city, state and federal levels. Some other groups with government ties, such as electric companies and hospital or stadium entities, also have the power to exercise eminent domain over land they deem necessary for public use. For example, these entities may decide to exercise the power of eminent domain to construct a pipeline, expand a highway and so on.

Can you fight it?

As a landowner who is a victim of eminent domain, you may have options. The entity looking to take over your land must compensate you for it, but often, disagreements arise over whether the amount offered to a landowner is adequate. If you feel as if you are not receiving a fair offer for your land, you may be able to fight for more on the grounds that the initial offer simply was not just. You may also be able to fight the government body taking your property if you disagree with the assertion that it will serve public use and argue accordingly.

Eminent domain can prove difficult to understand, and sometimes, landowners are taken advantage of because they do not understand their rights. Comprehending your rights and options may help you save your property, or at least receive adequate compensation for it.