Wisconsin Eminent Domain and Property Rights Law Firm
If you do not want to willingly sell your property to the government, the government can exercise its eminent domain power to acquire your land. Eminent domain or condemnation is the process by which the government acquires your land in exchange for ‘just compensation.’
One of the most common misconceptions that we hear from landowners is concern that if the government/utility company uses eminent domain, you do not get any money. That could not be further from the truth. If eminent domain is used, you are guaranteed to receive money for the taking under the US and Wisconsin constitutions. The only question is how much money you will receive.
If you force the government to begin condemnation proceedings by not voluntarily selling your property, the government must pay its good faith value for your property at the outset of the condemnation proceedings. You will not be punished or receive less compensation by not voluntarily selling and forcing the government to exercise its eminent domain powers. However, it is important to remember that just because the government pays you what it determines to be ‘just compensation’ it does not automatically mean that you were fairly compensated.
Yes, but it is difficult. State and local governments continue to stretch their use of eminent domain. One way to block eminent domain is the landowner must prove that the taking fails to serve a public purpose or public necessity.
Eminent domain is a niche area and it is important that you select an appraiser familiar with eminent domain appraisals. When selecting an appraiser you should make sure they have a thorough understanding of eminent domain valuation rules, experience with the type of property being acquired, ability to produce an articulated and comprehensive report and experience as a witness for court proceedings. In addition, you want an appraiser who will give you an honest valuation of your land, not simply the highest value possible because such valuation will not hold up during litigation.
As a way to encourage landowners to protect their property rights and prevent the government from abusing its eminent domain power, Wisconsin law requires that the government pay legal fees and expenses in certain condemnation proceedings. In Wisconsin, the most common situation is when the jury verdict approved by the court exceeds the jurisdictional offer by at least $2,700 and 15%.