Negotiating an Offer Made in a Condemnation Action

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jul 15, 2021

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After an offer is made in a condemnation action, you can negotiate the offer. You will, however, have to work very hard and have solid, clear and convincing evidence to get the government entity proceeding with the condemnation to change its initial offer.

How to Negotiate in Condemnation

When a condemnation action has been filed against your property to allow the government to take it for public use, it is filed under eminent domain law. A specific process must be followed which includes the government offering you “just compensation.” Generally, the government will first have the property appraised and make you an offer. At this time, you can try to negotiate with the government by presenting clear and solid evidence that the property is worth more than what was offered.

If you do not accept the offer, the government can exercise eminent domain to take the property and pay you a fair amount. When the government pursues condemnation through eminent domain, the government entity filing the action against your property has to provide the reason for the action being filed, along with the intended public use for the property. An appropriate amount of just compensation must be offered by the government at this time, which is equal to what the property would be worth on the open market considering all its potential uses.

When to Dispute the Action

When you are given notice of the government’s intention to condemn, you generally have 120 days from when the action was filed to dispute the amount of just compensation that was offered, and ask the court to determine a different amount of just compensation for the property. If you accept any portion of the deposit made upon filing, however, or if you fail to answer within the allotted time, the court will assume you have accepted the offer and approve the action.

If you wish to negotiate the offer that was made, it is in your best interest to get legal help to assist you in gathering evidence and convincing the government or the court that you deserve more than you are being offered. 

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