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When the government wants your land, what rights do you have? In Texas, laws protect people’s property from being taken without compensation. The U S Constitution guarantees all citizens due process. It safeguards them from having their properties seized unless they’re given a fair hearing according to the law, which court decisions have upheld many times in recent years.
However, the government can still use its power of eminent domain to take private property for public use.
This often happens in cases where land is needed for infrastructure projects or other community developments. Property owners are entitled to just compensation, determined by current market value in these situations.
Chapter 21 of the Texas Property Code outlines the condemnation process and the reasons property may be taken, including:
It’s important to note that the government cannot just take your property because they want it; they must have a legitimate public use for the land and must adhere to all laws and due process during the condemnation process. Property owners have the right to negotiate and dispute the terms of compensation and the public use justification in court.
The Texas Landowners’ Bill of Rights provides landowners facing eminent domain takings with certain landowner rights, including:
While the government does have the power of an eminent domain, landowners in Texas still have rights and protections against unfair condemnations. It’s important to understand your rights as a property owner and seek professional assistance from an experienced team like that at OAG if you believe your property may be subject to condemnation.
The short answer is Yes. However, while the United States and Texas Constitutions provide for a government’s right to take land, there are specific requirements that must be met.
While Texas land owners have every right to negotiate with a authorities without the help of an experienced team, it is not recommended. A group focused on law pertaining to eminent domain will know how best protect your interests during negotiations which could result in less than optimal compensation for what you are offering up front
The government has the right to take private property for public use. This includes utility companies, counties and municipal governments amongst others; they can exercise “eminent domain” (the formal name) if it’s in the public interest or need. This means there are some limits on when this law applies!
When the state of Texas takes your property through eminent domain, they must have a purpose for taking it. The most common reasons are transportation projects like highways and bridges; water/waste water construction such as dams or treatment plants (which also includes electricity generation); utility work that maintains power supply, and other similar projects.