The proposed changes for eminent domain in Texas died on the house floor this past spring. With no change to the law, homeowners still retain the same rights as before. However, the eminent domain must be used in accordance with the law and not for any purpose the authorized entity deems fit.
The Texas Constitution Sec 17 states that homeowners should be adequately compensated for property taken for public use. The property owner should receive the compensation by a deposit or immediately before taking the property. A property cannot be taken to increase tax revenues or economic development by the local or state government.
However, the state may grant any entity the power of an eminent domain. The law must pass the house and senate by a 2/3 majority. The homeowners should not expect any special immunities or privileges for the property.
The State of Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights allows homeowner’s the right to acquire an attorney to help them negotiate with the condemning entity before a property is condemned. Dissatisfied homeowners have the right to a jury or judge trial over the validity of the property seizure. Before the entity can condemn a property, they must make an actual offer on it.
The homeowner must be notified prior to the entity taking the property. Besides a government entity, a private entity may be legally authorized to take a property. A certified written appraisal must be supplied to the homeowner to determine the amount of compensation deemed adequate. The homeowner can also obtain their own appraisal though they must cover the cost.