Texas eminent domain laws allow the government or a private entity with government authorization to take ownership of private property in some circumstances. However, the entity taking the property must meet certain requirements and provide compensation.
What happens when property owners do not want to sell?
Eminent domain laws
Entities with government authorization may take private property through a process called condemnation if they meet the legal requirements. First, the reason for taking the property must be for the public’s benefit.
For example, the government may take a property to build infrastructure, complete utility projects or build commercial projects that benefit the public, such as a sports stadium, shopping center or museum. The entity must also satisfy the requirements in the Texas Landowners’ Bill of Rights, which includes notifying the property owner and offering adequate compensation.
Property owners options
Some property owners may not want to sell at all or not want to sell for the compensation the government is offering. Property owners can challenge an eminent domain action on the basis that the entity taking the property does not have government authorization or that the entity is not taking the property for a use that benefits the public.
However, it is difficult to win on these grounds. If the property owner believes the compensation the government is offering is not enough, the property owner can refuse to sell. In this case, the court or condemnation commission will decide how much the property is worth.
Property owners who do not want to sell their property face a difficult path when dealing with eminent domain cases. However, property owners do have rights.