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Real estate disputes: Facts about eminent domain

Eminent domain refers to the government (federal or state) having the right to take private property for public use upon payment of just compensation to the property owner. Florida real estate disputes often erupt when state laws are misunderstood or when parties disagree about property lines or other related issues. While state laws vary, many states prohibit certain properties from being taken, such as cemeteries.

clause contained in the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution addresses what types of property may be taken under eminent domain. In most cases, the property in question is real property, including land and buildings. Property deemed a public risk may prompt condemnation proceedings.

This topic can be quite complicated, as not all cases of eminent domain involve actual land. In fact, in 1982, city officials attempted to obtain possession of the Oakland Raiders football team. However, the California Supreme Court blocked the attempt.

If private property is near to other property that has been deemed unsafe, the government may be able to take possession of the private property as well. For instance, if a particular property has been condemned because of pollutants or other issues that pose public health hazards, a nearby privately-owned structure or land could be seized in the interests of the public.  The best thing to do to avoid real estate disputes in Florida is to speak with someone well-versed in applicable state and federal laws if a question arises regarding the government's right to take over a piece of land, a building or other privately owned property.

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