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What does eminent domain mean?
February 12, 2023
If you are a business owner who owns the land on which your company is located, eminent domain could mean bad news.
The term refers to the government’s ability to put acompulsory purchase orderon your property. No matter how well your business is doing, and no matter how crucial your location may be to its success, the government could take it from under your feet with the stroke of a pen. Or almost.
The government will not turn up with the bulldozers the next day. Rather, you will have a limited amount of time to appeal their decision to buy your property.
Why might they want my land?
The reason behind an eminent domain purchase could be critical to its success or failure. If you or someone else opposes the purchase, the government will have to explain why the project the land will be used for is crucial. Typical reasons involve it bringing critical infrastructure or jobs to an area. A local politician or developer should not be able to force you to sell their land just because they fancy putting their house on it.
If you are upset, others may also be
Building community opposition is often key to stopping compulsory purchases. The more people you get onboard and the more support you can get from high-profile figures, environmental groups, community associations and the like, the greater your chance of stopping the purchase.
Yet in many cases, your chances of success are slim, and you may be better off focusing your energy on negotiating a higher price for your land.
If you are facing a compulsory purchase of your land, it’s important to act fast, so consider legal help to understand your options forprotecting your property.