In a condemnation case the constitution requires that the landowner be paid “Just Compensation”. “Just Compensation” is generally speaking comprised of the value of the property taken plus any damage to the value of the property left remaining after the taking. In some cases there may be additional items of compensation such as “Relocation Payments” and costs incurred as result of the condemnation.
The overall objective of the law is to make the landowner “Whole”. Stated otherwise, the objective is to compensate the landowner for the taking and damages such that the landowner is not left any richer or any poorer as a result of the condemnation of his property.
Many issues are involved in determining the amount of “Just Compensation” to be paid in an eminent domain case. A few are presented here:
The law provides that a landowner is to be paid the value of the property taken at its “Highest And Best Use”. This is an appraisal term. It basically means that a property may be currently used for one thing, but really be suited for something better. The concept of “Highest And Best Use” is also important in determining damages to the “Remainder Property” (the property left remaining after the taking). An example of this concept would be that a house may be currently used residentially however because of its location in a developing area, its Highest And Best Use may be as a commercial property.
“Cost To Cure” is a way to measure and arrive at damage to the remainder property that is not taken. An example of this would be that perhaps a road widening project takes a portion of the parking from a commercial property. Not only should the area taken be paid for, but also the cost to replace or cure by rebuilding parking at another area on the property should also be paid. This because the replacement of the parking is necessary to restore the property to its use as a commercial property.
From jurisdiction to jurisdiction this item is treated differently. Generally, the costs associated with moving personal property to another location because of being displaced by the condemnation are recoverable. In some jurisdictions this cost is only recoverable under “Relocation Benefits” in an administrative proceeding. In other jurisdictions it may be recoverable both under the general “Eminent Domain” law and under administrative proceedings for “Relocation Benefits”.
There are a huge variety of issues that arise in determining “Just Compensation” in an eminent domain case. Other commons issues are: Affects on access, drainage, noise, view, market values, income loss, changes in highest and best use, commercial relocations, residential relocations, displaced renters and many, many more. The landowner is well advised to contact professionals in his area when confronted with an eminent domain case so that he may be fully apprised of his rights in his particular jurisdiction and the situations of his condemnation problem.
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At the Ritchie Law Firm in Pryor, OK we represent clients throughout Oklahoma, including Pryor, Claremore, Wagoner, Vinita, Jay, Muskogee, Tulsa, Nowata, and Sapulpa.
Through the following counties: Mayes County, Rogers County, Tulsa County, Craig County, Wagoner County,
Muskogee County, Nowata County, Delaware County, Osage County, and Creek County.