Eminent Domain & Condemnation
Eminent domain and condemnation can be summarized as the right the government has to acquire private land and the means by which they do so. The government has a right to eminent domain. The government acquires land through condemnation. This is a long-established principle in the United States, but in Pennsylvania it has been codified at 26 Pa.C.S.A Section 101 – the Eminent Domain Code. Condemnations are an exceptional power of the government but are surprisingly frequent. If there is a public purpose to be served by the acquisition of private property and the government pays fair market value, then land can be taken from private owners. The government entity can be a city, municipality, or even a municipal authority such as a water authority.
While the right of the government to take land is concrete, it must be done exactly according to the law or else it will likely violate the landowner’s constitutional rights. The simple procedure that must be followed is that the condemning entity must file a declaration of taking pursuant to the Eminent Domain Code. Notice then must be given and filed with the county Recorder of Deeds and served on the party whose land is being condemned. Challenges to the declaration of taking must be made within thirty (30) days of being served with the notice of condemnation by way of preliminary objections. Common challenges include lack of payment of fair market value and lack of a public purpose.
Get The Legal Help You Need
If you are served with a notice of condemnation, or if you are approached by a representative of a government entity asking that you sign over your land, it is absolutely essential to speak with an attorney.
To arrange a consultation with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys, contact us online or by telephone at 610-850-9036.