The legal process of "eminent domain," also called condemnation, gives public agencies in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania the right to force private land owners to sell their land to the agency, if the land will be used to serve a valid public purpose. Eminent domain proceedings are subject to the due process clauses of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the United States Constitution, Title 26 of the Pennsylvania Statutes and the provisions of the specific legislation that authorizes the agency to acquire the land.
Understanding how to fight claims of eminent domain can be as simple as saving a family farm or preserving important Pennsylvania history. Being threatened by an eminent domain action can be unsettling and overwhelming.
Many Philadelphia residents are aware of common types of real estate litigation that relate to the buying and selling of property and the contracts and covenants involved. Eminent domain actions are a very different type of real estate litigation however, and one that home and property owners should understand if they want to protect their property interests.
Readers of this blog may recall posts about the government taking Pennsylvania residents' property using its power of eminent domain. However, this power of the government may not be fully understood and may leave readers asking the following questions:
When the government wants to obtain something on a piece of land privately owned by an individual, company or someone else, they may in some circumstances be able to gain possession of it. As residents of Pennsylvania may or may not be aware, one of the common ways for a state to take ownership of a piece of land or something on it from a property owner is through eminent domain.