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Common myths regarding eminent domain

On Behalf of | Nov 10, 2023 | Real Estate Law |

When the government informs you that it needs to take your property for public use under eminent domain, you might feel a mixture of disbelief, confusion and concern. You have heard various things about the process, but how many of those are actually true?

Minnesota’s eminent domain laws often become muddled by misconceptions and folklore, making it difficult to separate fact from fiction. While eminent domain does not happen often, The Department of Justice reported that only about 50 parcels of land per million face eminent domain proceedings each year, it is still important to understand what is myth and what is reality so you can make informed decisions about your property and rights.

You have no options

One prevalent myth is that you are powerless against the government’s right to take your land. While it is true that the government has the authority to acquire private property for public use, it must meet specific requirements, and you have rights in this process.

The truth about compensation

Many believe that you will not receive fair compensation for your property in an eminent domain case. The truth is that Minnesota law requires the government to provide “just compensation,” which is the fair market value of the property. The definition of fair market value takes into account the property’s current use, its highest and best potential use and any other factors that a willing buyer and seller would consider in a transaction.

The government always gets what it wants

Some people think that the government always succeeds in taking property once it starts the eminent domain process. However, if you can prove that the taking is not necessary or the proposed use is not truly for the public, you may challenge the government’s right to claim your property. You have the right to question the necessity of the taking and demand a thorough justification.

You must accept the initial offer

Another widespread myth is that you must accept the initial offer the government makes for your property. You have the right to negotiate for a better offer or to present evidence that the offer does not reflect the property’s true value. You do not have to accept the first amount proposed.

It is important to confront the myths surrounding eminent domain with solid information. By understanding your rights and the actual provisions of the law, you can engage in the process more effectively and ensure that your interests remain protected. Always consider your options and know that you have a say in what happens to your property.