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 Does Eminent Domain Mean?

Eminent domain is an inherent right of a government to take private property and use it for public use. This right is deemed to be inherent because governments are typically sovereign over all the land within their borders. Therefore, given the superior dominion that...

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How Can Eminent Domain Be Used?

            Typically, the government or a public utility will attempt to use eminent domain in order to complete a project. The authority that seeks to use eminent domain activates its right to eminent domain...

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How Does the Eminent Domain Process Work?

The process for exercising eminent domain will vary depending on who the condemning authority is. For example, in North Carolina, the process for a private entity condemning property is different from the standards and procedures that the North Carolina Department of...

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