Fort Mill Eminent Domain

Real Estate Law
Fort Mill Eminent Domain

Fort Mill Attorneys For Eminent Domain Disputes

Eminent domain is the controversial power that the government has to commandeer private property for public use. In South Carolina, eminent domain is protected by state law and can be exercised whenever the state government sees fit to acquire private property in an effort to benefit the public good. If you are wondering how Fort Mill eminent domain works or are seeking legal advice for buying or selling real estate, consult with a real estate lawyer today.

The taking of private land for public use raises many complicated legal issues for both sides. For property owners, this can be an emotional process that can result in strong opposition. For government entities, it is an invaluable process that can be essential in creating strong infrastructure designed to support both the local and state economy.

At the law firm of Mack & Mack, our Fort Mill eminent domain lawyers assist both property owners and government entities with the complexities related to condemnation proceedings and right-of-way acquisition. Contact our York County real estate attorneys online or call 803-548-4751 to schedule an appointment to discuss your needs.

Fort Mill Eminent Domain

How Does Eminent Domain Work in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, the state government has the power to seize any private property they wish, but only if it will be used for a public works project and only if they then compensate the property owner. Even if the owner does not wish to sell their property, the government can acquire it through a lawsuit.

The process of eminent domain usually starts with a formal offer from the government to buy the property in question. If the offer is rejected, the government then files a lawsuit to acquire the property anyway. The court works to determine the fair market value of the property. Then, the property owner is paid compensation for the acquisition of their property, which now officially belongs to the government.

You are able to challenge the government’s invocation of eminent domain to take your property, but only if you can prove that the acquisition of your property was not in the public interest or that you were not fairly compensated for it. An experienced eminent domain lawyer can help you determine whether the taking of your property was indeed for public use, as per the Constitution, or for private use, which is illegal.

What Are the Required Conditions for Eminent Domain?

Eminent domain cases, also known as condemnation cases, can be frightening and confusing. The government has informed you that they intend to take your property away, which is enough to make anyone panic. It is important that you understand the required steps taken in an eminent domain case so the process is easier to navigate:

  • Making an Appraisal: The government will inform you, with a reasonable amount of notice, that they will be entering your home in order to survey the land and appraise the value. If you choose not to give permission to any government workers to enter your property, they may return with a court order and enter your property without your permission.
  • Making an Offer: Once an appraisal of your property has been made, the government will then provide you with a formal offer. The government must let you see the appraisal and is expected to make a reasonable effort to negotiate a settlement. You may be angry, confused, and obstinate. That is understandable.
  • Filing a Notice: If neither you nor the government is willing to accept a settlement, the government may file a notice of condemnation and file its own decision on compensation with the court. You will then be served a written notice informing you of this. Once the decision has been filed, the government is legally allowed to take your property.

Can You Get Around Eminent Domain?

South Carolina does provide ways of getting out of an eminent domain situation, but there are no guarantees. The state constitution makes efforts to protect landowners facing condemnation. The state courts have a fairly limited interpretation of what “public use” actually means when it comes to acquiring private property. Landowners are sometimes able to stop an eminent domain takeover by filing a separate legal procedure called a “right to take challenge.”

The eminent domain takeover is automatically halted until the “right to take challenge” is resolved. If the court does end up determining that the government does not have the right to take the land, the landowner is awarded the litigation expenses and court costs.

Is Eminent Domain Negotiable?

It may feel like you have no options when you are going up against the government. In some cases, that may be true. If the government has a legal right to acquire your property, then they will do just that, and unfortunately, there is very little you can do to stop it. However, there may be certain cases where the situation is somewhat negotiable.

For example, if the government only intends to acquire a portion of your property, you may be able to convince them to let you be involved in the project’s design to preserve the appearance of your land. Also, if the project is years away, you may be able to negotiate a way to remain on the property for longer, or at least until the public works project gets underway.

It is important to seek legal counsel to understand all of your possible options in the event of an eminent domain situation. There may be possibilities you have not yet thought of.

What Are the Problems With Eminent Domain?

The idea of eminent domain raises many ethical concerns and controversial questions. While it is supported in the Constitution, many who have had to deal with eminent domain situations have argued that the entire process infringes on their rights as Americans. The process shows that there is no real right to private property if the government can decide to take what belongs to you.

There are also the negative economic effects that eminent domain can have on low-income neighborhoods. People who live in low-income neighborhoods tend to rely more on the people in their communities for their daily needs, such as child care. If they are displaced because the government decides to build a highway or a community center, they may lose access to an entire support network.

Providing A Wide Range Of Legal Counsel, Negotiation And Litigation Services

Our attorneys work hard to help individuals and government entities resolve complex matters involving the taking of land. We provide a wide range of legal counsel, negotiation and litigation services in this evolving field of law.

When necessary, we will work closely with title companies, appraisers, surveyors, environmental experts, local officials and others in actions concerning condemnation and land acquisition. Whether you are seeking fair compensation for the taking of your land or you represent a governmental entity seeking to acquire private land, we are committed to representing your interests while seeking to avoid time-consuming litigation.

In addition to the above condemnation services, Mack & Mack Attorneys also provides consultation and representation on state and local transportation issues. B. Bayles Mack’s prior service on the South Carolina Department of Transportation Board, formerly known as the S.C Highway Commission, provides effective advocacy with transportation matters related to rights-of-way, curb cut issues and related road and transportation needs.

Contact Our Eminent Domain Lawyers

Facing an eminent domain situation in Fort Mill can be incredibly stressful and time-consuming. It is crucial to retain the services of someone who understands the legalities involved. An experienced eminent domain lawyer may be able to help you navigate these uncharted waters and understand your options.

Ideally, a qualified lawyer could succeed at getting whatever outcome you are hoping for, but even if not, they could help you receive a larger settlement for your property or negotiate a fairer deal. At the very least, they will help you determine exactly what is happening to you and your property.

Condemnation proceedings can be confusing and complex. Get the experienced legal representation you need to ensure that your interests are being taken care of. Contact our Fort Mill eminent domain attorneys online or call 803-548-4751 to schedule an initial consultation to discuss your situation.

Our firm has been heavily involved in condemnation proceedings for the new Fort Mill Southern Bypass, a York County “Pennies for Progress project.” We have successfully represented a significant number of local property owners in maximizing their settlements related to this major road construction project.


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