September 2nd, 2015 — By — In Articles
Understanding Your Rights in Inverse Condemnation and Regulatory Takings Cases
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution establishes that the government must pay property owners just compensation for the taking of private property for a public purpose. Most government takings involve the condemnation of private property using the power of eminent domain. In a typical eminent domain case, the government issues a notice in advance of the taking and in most jurisdictions makes an initial offer to purchase the needed property.
The property owner, therefore, has an opportunity to protect his or her property rights and obtain just compensation. Owners’ Counsel of America (OCA) attorneys represent property owners in eminent domain and inverse condemnation proceedings nationwide.
What if the condemning authority acquires your property without following eminent domain process? Suddenly you realize that the government is using your property without your consent and without compensating you. What should your next step be?
Inverse Condemnation and Property Owners’ Constitutional Rights
In such situations, property owners can seek remedy with the courts for the taking of their property. This process is generally known as “inverse condemnation.” In inverse condemnation actions, property owners file a claim in court to enforce their rights under the Fifth Amendment. Depending on your state jurisdiction, a statute of limitations may apply. It is imperative that an owner seeks assistance from a qualified and experience attorney to insure a successful resolution to an inverse condemnation claim.
What Constitutes a “Taking”?
A taking of private property can be a direct and obvious action by government, such as the construction of a public building on private land, or may be less clear, such as a local ordinance or regulation that deprives the property owner of all economically beneficial use of the property without compensation.
In a more obvious 2014 inverse condemnation case handled by OCA attorneys, the State of Mississippi started constructing a municipal harbor and parking lot on a Katrina-ravaged restaurant owner’s property – but the start of a government works project is not necessary to give rise to a claim for inverse condemnation. For example, property owners may be entitled to compensation in cases involving:
- Temporary flooding of private property
- Prohibiting use of groundwater for irrigation
- Passing a government regulation, such as a zoning ordinance, that deprives the property owner of economically beneficial use of the property
This latter example is known as a “regulatory taking.” In regulatory takings cases, property owners may be able to seek invalidation of the subject regulation in addition to pursuing a claim for just compensation. The procedures and laws regarding regulatory takings claims vary from state to state and can be extremely complicated. If you believe that the use of your property has been negatively affected by a government regulation, seek the guidance of an experienced property rights attorney.
What Do You Do if the Government Has Taken Your Private Property?
If you believe that you have been denied just compensation for the taking of your property your property has been damaged by a government regulation, it is important to act quickly to enforce your rights and meet any statute of limitations that may apply in your state. OCA’s nationwide inverse condemnation lawyers can help you protect your rights and obtain just compensation.
Contact the Inverse Condemnation Attorneys at Owners’ Counsel of America
The attorneys at OCA are dedicated to representing property owners in inverse condemnation and regulatory takings claims against the government. To discuss your case with an experienced property rights lawyer in your state, please contact us today.