Every year, many landowners are faced with a legal predicament known as eminent domain. Eminent domain is a tool used by government agencies to acquire land that is not for sale. If a government agency decides that they need land that a landowner is unwilling to sell, the agency can use eminent domain in order to acquire the land.
But here in the state of Florida, landowners have certain rights laid out in our state constitution regarding eminent domain. One of these rights is an entitlement to "full compensation."
What is eminent domain?
Full compensation is not the same as the Fair Market Value of a property. A Fair Market Value is based on the assumption of a willing buyer and seller, which is not the case in regards to eminent domain. There are many qualities of a property that must be taken into account when assessing it's value for a full compensation. Land that may appear small of undeveloped could still be essential for a business or could have the potential for future crop growth.
Another guarantee in our constitution is that any government agency performing an eminent domain acquisition must pay all of the legal fees for the landowner. Government agencies have a goal of performing eminent domain acquisitions as quickly and cheaply as possible. Because of this, it is essential to contact an attorney immediately after being made aware of the eminent domain claim. Any fees paid to the attorney will be paid by the government agency, and will not be deducted from the full compensation.
For more information regarding eminent domain, check out the video below in which The Land Journal sits down with two eminent domain specialists from Gaylord Merlin Ludivici & Diaz to discuss the importance of legal representation for eminent domain cases.
More about Andrew Diaz
Andrew G. Diaz is a founding partner of Gaylord Merlin Ludovici & Diaz. He has represented a variety of property owners in eminent domain matters throughout the state of Florida and has practiced exclusively in the field for over twenty years. Learn more about Andrew.
More about Blake Gaylord
Blake Gaylord is a partner with Gaylord Merlin Ludovici & Diaz and practices in the field of eminent domain and property rights. Learn more about Blake.