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Inverse Condemnation and Regulatory Takings

What is Inverse Condemnation?

While it seems improbable that the government can take your private property without using the power of eminent domain or compensating you, it does occasionally happen. If land has been acquired by the government or other condemning authority without following condemnation procedures, the owner has the right to bring an inverse condemnation action to recover the value of the property taken. The lawsuit is “inverse” because it is initiated by the property owner, not by the condemnor.

The most obvious form of inverse condemnation is when the government physically builds a project, such as a road, on your property. However, inverse condemnation is not limited to the permanent physical taking of property. The temporary taking of private property, such as periodic government induced flooding, has been considered by the courts to be a taking of private property for which the payment of just compensation is required.

What is a Regulatory Taking?

When the government takes property for a public purpose or public use, such as for a road, school or conservation, it is required under the Fifth Amendment to compensate the landowner for the value of the property taken. However, when the government regulates the use of private property to achieve a public purpose, it rarely pays the owner for the diminished use of the property. As such, private property can be taken for public use – through a “regulatory taking” – without the payment of just compensation.

When the government passes a regulation, such as a zoning ordinance or building moratorium, that deprives you of the economic use of your property, a regulatory taking may have occurred. Such government actions can have negative impacts on the value of your property and you, the property owner, may be entitled to compensation. Property owners may also challenge a regulation or government action and seek to have the regulation invalidated as unconstitutional.

Experienced Inverse Condemnation Attorneys

Owners’ Counsel lawyers have successfully represented landowners, businesses owners, developers and other property owners in inverse condemnation and regulatory takings suits against local, state and Federal government agencies. In inverse condemnation and regulatory takings claims, the burden of proving that a taking has occurred falls upon the landowner. In both cases, the lawsuit is initiated by the landowner against the government.

OCA attorneys are experienced with inverse condemnation and regulatory takings litigation. Our lawyers have the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully represent property owners wrongfully deprived of their property rights by the government.