You worked hard for your home and it belongs to you and your family. To hear that someday your home, your land, your investment and your children’s inheritance is going to be taken by the government is terrifying.
You may be upset, afraid and uncertain about the next steps. This page will help you understand eminent domain and explain what you can do to protect yourself.
We have decades of experience helping families just like yours get the help that they deserve and need.
What is Eminent Domain?
When the government takes your land in North Carolina for public use, this process is called eminent domain or land condemnation. Subject to the payment of just compensation, the government has the right to take private property for a public use. Eminent domain is limited by the 5th Amendment which states that the government cannot seize private property without the payment of just compensation.
The eminent domain lawyers at Lewis & Keller, formerly Mike Lewis Attorneys can provide comprehensive representation to help fight the taking of your North Carolina property or commercial land. Armed with the extensive experience of our North Carolina eminent domain attorneys, we understand the complexities of condemnation law. As such, the chances of receiving a favorable settlement significantly increase with our assistance.
The firm’s founding partner is Mike Lewis. An attorney who has decades of experience litigating such cases and who has received numerous awards in the legal industry that recognize his track record of success. Recently, our entire firm was recognized as a member of U.S. News – Best Lawyers’ 2014 Tier 2 “Best Law Firms” for our notable work in personal injury and eminent domain litigation. With our assistance, you will maximize your chances of either keeping your home or getting appropriate compensation.
What is Eminent Domain Abuse?
Eminent domain abuse occurs when the government tries to take property without being able to demonstrate that they will use it for “public use” or that the taking of the home is “necessary”.
Lewis & Keller, formerly Mike Lewis Attorneys challenges government land condemnation cases where the projects do not qualify for public use or where there are other ways for the project to be completed without depriving you and your family of your home.
The Government’s Case
In order to succeed in condemning land, the government’s team of lawyers must demonstrate not only that the private property is being seized for legitimate “public use” purposes and that is “necessary” but also that the offer you have received for your home or business is “just compensation.”
A qualified North Carolina eminent domain attorney can ensure that your home or business is being condemned legally and also ensure that you receive the financial compensation to which you and your family are entitled.
What Should I Do If I Am Facing Land Condemnation?
If it appears that your property may be affected by eminent domain, it is important to be proactive. By taking appropriate steps before your land is taken, you increase your chances of receiving a favorable settlement for your property.
Some of those steps include (but are not limited to):
- Refrain from applying for building permits and zoning changes.
- Keep up the appearance and condition of your property.
- Don’t speak to government representatives without first speaking to an attorney. Your statements may be recorded and used against you in the future to lower your settlement offer.
- Do not give the government a copy of appraisal reports, income statements or other personal property information.
- Be sure to ask about relocation benefits that you may be eligible for.
- Avoid sales contracts or listing agreements.
In some instances, you may also be approached by a property appraiser or representative of the government prior to the land being seized. If so, be sure to ask a government representative the following questions:
- Is the proposed project funded?
- If so, will the government seize my property?
- Am I eligible for an “advanced acquisition”?
Every bit of information that you can obtain prior to your land being taken is important. The reason for this is because with this type of information, a team of experienced attorneys can use those details to help fortify your lawsuit, ensuring that it is as strong as possible before going to court. Our attorneys will ensure that the government has followed the proper fair notice steps.
Elite North Carolina Land Condemnation Lawyers
For decades, the land condemnation attorneys at Lewis & Keller, formerly Mike Lewis Attorneys have helped clients resolve their most pressing land condemnation legal problems. The firm’s track record of success speaks for itself.