What You Need to Know About Eminent Domain


Have you ever driven past a home that just seems out of place given the other structures around it? Although other types of housing or businesses are built around it, the lone house still remains. In many of these circumstances, the owner does not budge and refuses to leave their home. This is a rare sight to see, especially because in most cases the owner will succumb to the pressures of eminent domain.

Eminent domain has been more frequently in the news, but you may not fully understand this concept. At Allen, Semelsberger & Kaelin LLP, we are proud to offer our qualified representation to protect your rights and your property. Your first step, however, will be understanding eminent domain.

It is a natural right to have control over your personal private property
The concept of your property being an inherent right became long before the Founders enshrined it into the country’s DNA. Eminent domain will take over when your natural right to your own private property is overcome by the government’s desire to take possession of it.

The government’s duty is not to take our property but to uphold our rights
Eminent domain seeks to take away the natural right of a person to possess their property.

There are different views on eminent domain
One idea is that the government’s duty is to take possession of property as long as it is in the best interest of others. Another idea is that government should be able to exercise eminent domain, but only within a limited manner.

The Founders sought to limit the government’s ability to take possession of one’s property by making this a small function that can only be conducted within specific parameters.

So long as certain criteria is fulfilled, eminent domain allows the government to cease control of your property
Under the Fifth Amendment, there are two conditions in which the government is allowed to enact eminent domain:

  1. If it is explicitly for public use
  2. The owners are justly compensated

With Kelo vs. New London in 2005, everything changed
In a 5-4 decision, the parameters by which eminent domain is used, changed. Now, the government is allowed to decide whether something will be for “public good.”

Dealing with an Eminent Domain Case?

If your property has been affected by eminent domain, it is important to ensure that your rights are protected. Reach out to our firm at once to get our team on your side.