Under the takings clauses of the California and U.S. Constitutions, private
landowners have a right to receive just compensation when the government
takes their property for public use. But, what type of government actions
qualify as a “taking” of private property? This blog explains
how land use laws and regulations can qualify as a “regulatory taking”
for which private landowners are constitutionally entitled to receive
a legal remedy.
Land Use Regulations as Takings
Landowners can sue the government for
inverse condemnation if a law, regulation, or ordinance deprives them of virtually all beneficial
use of their property. Thus, a law or regulation – such as zoning
laws – that leaves a landowner with only some economically beneficial
use of their property can still successfully sue for inverse condemnation.
Courts analyze the following factors when determining if a law or regulation
is a taking:
- The economic impact of the regulation on the landowner;
- The extent to which the regulation interfered with the landowner’s
distinct investment-backed expectations; and
- The character of the regulation.
Even if the law or regulation had been in effect before the landowner’s
purchase of the property, it might still qualify as a violation of the
takings clause. However, if the sole effect of a land use regulation is
the diminution in the property’s fair market value, the landowner
cannot successfully make an inverse condemnation claim on that basis.
Land Development Regulation
When government regulation precludes a landowner from developing a substantial
portion of their land, the government may be liable for inverse condemnation
even though the developer could still benefit economically from the developed
parts of the property.
However, when the government prohibits a landowner from developing a substantial
portion of their land for only a reasonable amount of time to protect
public safety, it is not liable to the landowner for inverse condemnation.
For example, a California court held that a temporary flood control ordinance
that prevented a landowner from developing buildings in a flood zone for
two years did not qualify as a regulatory taking.
Need Advice Regarding Land Regulation?
Whether you are an individual homeowner or a major land developer, a law
that deprives you of the economically beneficial use of your property
without compensation might violate your constitutional right to due process.
That is why you need to call an experienced California eminent domain
attorney for legal advice. At
Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin, LLP our sophisticated understanding of California’s eminent domain can
help you determine what your constitutional rights and options are regarding
government actions regarding the use or development of your real property.
For more information, call us at (888) 998-2031 or
contact us online today to arrange a free initial case evaluation regarding your available legal options.
First English Evangelical Lutheran Church of Glendale v. County of Los Angeles, 210 Cal.App.3d 1353, 1373 (1989).