What is Condemnation in real estate?
How do you legally define it?
What are the essential elements you should know!
In this article, we will break down the legal definition of Condemnation in real estate so you know all there is to know about it!
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Table of Contents
Condemnation Real Estate
Condemnation in real estate is a process whereby the government authorities acquire private property to be used by the public or to provide certain benefits to the public.
Typically, condemnation requires that the government pay the owner of the private property compensation for the acquisition.
We can hear about:
- Condemnation land
- Public condemnation
- Private condemnation
- Property condemnation
- Condemnation easement
These are variant terms relating to the process of condemnation for different reasons.
For example, the government can purchase private property to build a school or a hospital.
Based on the condemnation law, the government acquires real estate property and transforms the property in such a way as to benefit the public.
There are instances when the government does not acquire the property but instead adopts rules and regulations to reduce or even eliminate the usefulness of the property (that’s called inverse condemnation).
Here are some reasons why the government may acquire property for public use or benefit:
- To build highways
- To build schools
- To build prisons
- To build airports
- To build government facilities
Federal and state governments, including local ones, are given legal powers to take up private property to advance public projects and activities.
Why Condemn Private Property
The main reason why the government may want to condemn private property is to pursue its mission for the benefit of the public.
For example, you can have the government looking to acquire a property for the following purposes:
- Civic buildings
- Urban renewal
The government can also exercise the condemnation process to have the property owner vacate a property for various reasons such as unsafe conditions
Who Can Condemn Property
The government has the power to condemn property and it can include:
- The federal government
- The state government
- The local government
- Government agencies through delegated powers
An entity with the power to condemn is typically referred to as the condemning authority.
How Does The Government Condemn Property
The government condemns property by issuing a legal order instructing the property occupants to vacate the property.
Depending on the order issued, the occupants may be required to leave the entire property or parts of the property.
The authorities may want to prevent harm caused to the occupants when the property is dilapidated or unsafe.
Alternatively, the authorities may want to exercise eminent domain to condemn property and obtain title to the property for public use or benefit.
In this case, the government must pay the property owner just compensation to take ownership of the property.
The condemnation order can be permanent or temporary depending on the government’s objective.
Condemnation Legal Definition
“Condemnation” is a term used to refer to the legal power given to the government (federal, state, or local) to take private property to advance public activities.
Such power can also be delegated to governmental agencies as needed to condemn property to advance their mission.
In such cases, the owner of the private property may not have the right to challenge the condemnation of his or her property but may dispute the amount of compensation given by the government.
According to the Cornell Law School’s Legal Information Institute, condemnation action is defined as follows:
A condemnation action is a lawsuit where a government is exercising eminent domain to procure private property for some public use or benefit.
As you can see from this definition, condemnation action is a type of lawsuit instituted by the government to procure land or real estate.
In most cases, the owner of the property is entitled to be notified that the government or state will proceed with the condemnation of his or her property.
The ideal scenario is that the government purchases the property from the owner in a free and voluntary manner.
However, in cases where the owner does not agree with the condemnation or the amount paid, a legal challenge may be contemplated.
When the government institutes a condemnation action, it may be very difficult for the owner to escape the condemnation but is surely entitled to proper compensation.
It may be worth it for the owner to consult a qualified and experienced attorney in this matter to better understand the process and the implications of the lawsuit.
Condemnation vs Eminent Domain
What is the difference between condemnation and eminent domain?
Essentially, “condemnation” is a term used to refer to the government’s power to take private property to advance public policies and measures.
Eminent domain means essentially the same thing and is primarily governed by state legislation.
Many government bodies and entities are given the power and authority to “condemn” private property for public purposes.
When we talk about a condemnation or condemnation action, we are referring to instances when the government takes the physical possession and title to the property.
When we talk about eminent domain, we are generally talking about the right to condemn property.
Condemnation of Property Takeaways
So what is the legal definition of Condemnation?
What does condemnation mean in real estate?
Let’s look at a summary of our findings.
Condemnation In Real Estate
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