Can the Government Take My House?

People tend to place a lot of extrinsic value on the dwelling in which they live and call home. For some, the recent “van life” craze has created an entire community of individuals who call motorized vehicles home. However, most individuals still live in “normal” houses with a foundation, plumbing, pitched roof, and electricity provided by a large utility provider. Even when individuals place so much value into their home, can the government simply “take” a family’s house?

The reality is that the government can take your house and all the land around it if it is deemed necessary for a current project that the government has chosen to undertake for a “public purpose.” This is a tough fact, but that is why consulting an eminent domain attorney is so important. There might be a challenge that can be made against the government’s taking of your property.

A house, regardless of the extrinsic value placed on it by a family, is considered real property. Real property refers to the actual land (dirt, trees, grass, etc.) that someone owns. Since a house sits on real property and is part of the property, the government can “take” your house along with the rest of the property that it deems necessary for the project. There is certainly no special consideration given to landowners if they have a house on the property that is being taken.

The government can also take away from the value of your house without ever exercising eminent domain over it. However, there is a remedy for that. This type of lawsuit is called an “inverse condemnation” suit. This type of suit can benefit landowners whose property has not been “taken” through the government’s exercise of eminent domain. Rather, the landowner’s house and property values have been diminished by a government project done nearby which has diminished the value of the house and the surrounding property. The loss in your house and land’s value can be considered a taking and can be used as the basis for an inverse condemnation suit.

Our firm focuses on three practice areas: Disability, Personal Injury, and Eminent Domain. Every practice area has attorneys who have expertise in their respective area of practice. 

Chad Brown is a North Carolina Board Certified Social Security disability law specialist. Mr. Brown helps Social Security disability claimants at all stages of the disability process. He also works with people that have Long Term Disability denials and with people that are injured by drugs and defective medical products.

Your Questions Answered

What Is the Public Good for Purposes of Eminent Domain?

The question above asks a question that seems to coincide with one of the two main restrictions that the constitution places on the government before it can take private property. However, what is being referred to here as “public good” is actually referred to as...

read more

Can Eminent Domain Be Used for Economic Development?

This question was brought to many Americans’ attention in 2005 after the decision for Kelo v. New London was handed down by the United States Supreme Court. In that case, the Court stated that government could condemn property and convey it to private entities for...

read more

Can Eminent Domain Be Challenged?

The state and federal government do have the inherent right to exercise eminent domain. This inherent right is not expressly given in either the United States Constitution or the North Carolina Constitution. However, those documents do act to restrict the government’s...

read more