Property seizure by the government under the power of condemnation or eminent domain is often an unsettling experience. Your condemnation lawyers in Goldsboro, NC are here to walk through the whole process with you, from the initial Commissioner’s hearing to the Supreme Court, to protect your right to just compensation and, when possible, to negotiate for measures that will lessen the impact of condemnation on the property’s use.
Condemnation Law in North Carolina
Eminent domain is the government’s right to seize private property in order to convert it for public use, and condemnation is the legal process utilized to execute the power of eminent domain. In North Carolina, condemnation law is outlined in North Carolina General Statutes Chapter 40A, Articles 1-4 for private condemnors and local condemnors, and Chapter 136, Article 9 specifically when the condemnation is issued on behalf of the North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT). When private property is condemned, the private party is entitled to fair and just compensation. If you are facing condemnation of your property under eminent domain, the first step is to call a seasoned North Carolina condemnation lawyer.
Landowner Rights Under Eminent Domain
When faced with condemnation, the landowner is justified to fair and just compensation for the property. Unfortunately, you cannot assume that the government’s initial offer is fair. Like any buying entity, they want to pay the lowest price possible. That’s why having good representation from a Goldsboro condemnation lawyer is so important.
While the government is legally obligated to offer you a fair price, that price is determined by government-hired appraisers. Property valuation is not an exact science, so it’s important to keep in mind that the initial appraisal may not be an accurate reflection of the property’s worth.
The condemnation lawyers at Strickland Agner Pittman are well-versed in condemnation law in North Carolina and are ready to ensure your right to fair compensation is being protected to the fullest extent.
Why might my land or property be condemned?
Condemnation can occur for a variety of reasons in North Carolina. According to state legislation, entities are awarded the power of eminent domain for the construction of:
- Power facilities
- Roads and alleys
- Access railroads
- Power lines
- Public water supplies
- Public sewage systems
… and more
Condemnation Process in North Carolina
You might first find out that your property or land is being condemned when the condemnor enters your land to conduct surveys or other engineering data. This action is completely legal and should be your first indication that your property may be facing condemnation under eminent domain. From this point, the following will likely occur:
- In most cases, you will be contacted by someone with the condemning party who will seek to negotiate a selling price for the land being condemned. Note that the North Carolina Department of Transportation and the North Carolina Department of Administration are required to attempt a “good faith” negotiation with the property owner prior to filing a condemnation lawsuit. However, this is not required of local condemnors.
- In the case of an NCDOT or NCDOA condemnation (known more commonly as “quick-take” condemnations), the condemning party serves the property owner with a condemnation complaint if good faith negotiations do not prove amicable. This condemnation complaint will state why your property is being taken, how much exactly is being taken, and their judgment of its value.
- As soon as the condemnation complaint is filed with the Clerk of Superior Court and the condemnor deposits payment in the amount of the estimated just compensation, the land will belong to the condemning agency. Many landowners are surprised how immediately possession is transferred.
- You may apply to the court for all or part of the deposit for the property, even if you plan to challenge the valuation.
In the case of a local condemnation, there are two routes possible:
Local Private Condemnation in North Carolina
- Local private condemnors are not required to attempt good faith negotiations with the landowner. Instead, a local private condemnor will file petitions with the Clerk of Superior Court requesting commissioners to value the land. If the clerk concurs that the land may be condemned, three commissioners will value the land and issue a report establishing just compensation.
- You are not required to respond to the complaint, but at this time you have the opportunity to appeal the just compensation to the Superior Court.
- Local private condemnors do not have to deposit payment for the land, but until they do so, you retain possession and ownership.
Local Public Condemnation in North Carolina
- Like local private condemnors, local public condemnors are not required to attempt good faith negotiations. Instead, they can serve you with a notice of condemnation. This notice will include the purpose for condemnation, a description of the area to be condemned, the amount estimated to be just compensation, and the date the condemnor plans to file the complaint. You will be given at least 30-days notice of the condemnation.
- You have 120 days to respond to the complaint once it is filed.
- The local public condemnor will deposit the estimated compensation for the land and you may withdraw the deposit prior to the condemnor taking possession.
Goldsboro Condemnation Lawyers
Condemnation cases are nuanced and complex. At Strickland Agner Pittman, our local Goldsboro condemnation attorneys are ready to protect your right to the fair and just compensation you deserve. Our team of diligent, hands-on, skilled lawyers is just a phone call away.
Don’t wait to take action. Reach out today to get started with a free consultation.