Eminent Domain

Eminent Domain is the power of a governmental entity to take a landowner’s private property for a public use.  Eminent Domain is sometimes referred to as condemnation.  While these terms are used synonymously, they have different legal meanings.  Eminent Domain is the power to take property; condemnation is the legal process by which the taking occurs.  

Texas and the United States have long stood for the right to own land and for the protection of landowner’s rights.  Land (and home) ownership are fundamental to the “American Dream.”  As such, the idea that a governmental entity (or a for-profit corporation given such power by a governmental entity) has the authority to appropriate private property seems contrary to this policy of property rights.  But the Texas Property Code details the circumstances under which a state or local authority has such condemnation power. 

In Texas, condemnation is subject to the following four requirements:

  • Public use;
  • Public necessity;
  • Adequate compensation; and
  • Due Process.
Each of these elements are discussed in greater detail in the articles below.  These articles may not address your specific issue, but if you have received a letter or correspondence from The State of Texas or from a company claiming to have condemnation rights, please call me at 325-261-3005 or email me to further discuss your specific situation.
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Public Use

Under both the Texas and Federal Constitutions, no private property can be taken by condemnation, unless the taking is for a public use.  It is forbidden to take private property if the taking confers a private benefit to another.  In some circumstances, such as public parks or public roadways, public use is easy to define. […]

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Public Necessity

Public necessity is the often overlooked element of Eminent Domain.  Public necessity refers to the amount of land that the condemnor is allowed to take.  An entity may not take more land than is reasonably necessary to effectuate the public use.  This basically means that a condemnor cannot take more than it really needs.   […]

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Adequate Compensation

Adequate Compensation is the element of a condemnation action that is usually contested most often.  The Texas Constitution provides that “no person’s property shall be taken, damaged, or destroyed for or applied to public use without adequate compensation being made, unless by the consent of such person . . .”  What the Texas Constitution has […]

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