The Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Act (1970) (“URA“) was passed by the U.S. federal government in 1970. It was intended to ensure fair compensation and assistance for property owners experiencing a taking of property by eminent domain for public projects involving federal financial assistance. Subsequent to the URA’s enactment, many states adopted similar legislative enactments.
When private property is acquired for a public project, the property owner may be entitled to relocation benefits in addition to receiving compensation for the condemned property. Relocation benefits may include payment for moving expenses as well as assistance to find replacement property. Relocation rights are often governed under federal law and are determined independently of the property’s value. In some cases the expense of moving may be greater than the value of the property taken by eminent domain, this may be especially true with industrial sites. Fixtures and large machinery may require special equipment to move and reconnect, and it is important that the government reimburse for all such costs.
The successful relocation of a business can be a challenging task. Tenants are often entitled to relocation benefits and assistance to secure a replacement site and move the business. In some states business losses may be compensable under relocation laws. The relocation process may require complex negotiations which are unique to the type of property taken and business operated at the site. Most importantly, the relocation of a business must be timely and well-coordinated to minimize business interruption.
For a homeowner, relocation concerns may include the location of a replacement home within the same area as the condemned home, within a certain school district or within a certain distance from the owners’ place of employment or family. Under relocation laws, the government is obligated to assist in finding a suitable replacement site but may not be focused on all of the issues important to you.
Experienced Relocation Counsel Assisting Property and Business Owners
If your property has been condemned and you are in need of relocation counsel, contact an eminent domain attorney affiliated with the Owners’ Counsel in your state to discuss your situation and advise you concerning the important next steps. The government has a team of attorneys and relocation specialists working for it; shouldn’t you have knowledgeable counsel guiding you through this complicated process?