Representation For Condemnation Matters
Title 4 of the Texas Real Property Code governs the issues involving actions and remedies for eminent domain. At The Weaver Law Firm, we represent clients in Houston and Harris County in condemnation and other real estate matters.
Understanding Condemnation: A Sample Case
The Harris County Right of Way Division in the Public Infrastructure Department provided a letter to the landowner which included an explanation of the taking and described the area of land made the subject of condemnation. When a government entity such as the Harris County Right of Way Division seeks to condemn and take a landowner’s real property, it should also provide an appraisal of the real property.
The Harris County Right of Way Division provided an initial offer to compensate the real estate owner for the taking, but our Houston condemnation lawyer opposed the offer. Our Houston law firm obtained our own appraisal and began the negotiation process. When Harris County did not settle at an amount proper for adequate compensation, a commissioner’s hearing became necessary.
At that point, we engaged an expert appraiser to offer testimony as to his opinion of the true value of the taking. The commission found in favor of Harris County, and we appealed to a Harris County Court at Law. During this appeal process, Harris County conducted an additional appraisal with a different appraisal firm. Through additional negotiations, our Houston condemnation attorney obtained the client a settlement amount that was significantly above the original amount offered by Harris County.
Sometimes government entities like the city of Austin or the state of Texas, through their acts or omissions, take a real estate owner’s property without using condemnation proceedings or the exercise of eminent domain. In situations where the public authority does not make efforts to directly condemn, the real property owner has a constitutional right to compensation under Texas’ constitution. If this scenario is similar to yours, you make have a claim for inverse condemnation.
The term “inverse condemnation” is a legal term describing a case where real property is taken or damaged by the government without first paying the real estate owner just compensation. Sometimes, the taking of land may be an actual physical taking by the government. But sometimes, an inverse condemnation happens when a government entity places a regulation or other restriction on real property that unreasonably restricts its use.
A Texas real property owner must establish several claims to recover in an inverse condemnation claim. These claims are that (1) the governmental entity intentionally acted, (2) resulting in the taking, damaging or destruction of the property, (3) for public use.
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