Mark Bentley, PA

Eminent Domain FAQs

1.  How much will I be paid for my property?
The Condemning Authority will offer to purchase your property for the full amount established as fair market value.  In establishing this amount, the Condemning Authority will have an appraisal report prepared by a qualified real estate appraiser and will consider your appraisal report if you have elected to have one prepared.  If you feel the Condemning Authority’s offer is unacceptable, you may make a counteroffer which will be considered an attmept to arrive at a mutually agreeable value.  If such an agreement cannot be reached, the Condemning Authority may elect to file an Eminent Domain lawsuit.  If this occurs, a jury will be impaneled to determine the compensation due you for your property.

2.  What if I don’t want to sell my property?
The Condemning Authority cannot always avoid acquisition of a particular property.  They will only be seeking to purchase the amount of real estate required in order to meet the public’s transportation needs for which you will be fairly compensated and provided with relocation assistance if necessary.

3.  May I keep my building?
Generally, a structure or other improvements which are located on property being acquired by the Condemning Authority will be included in the purchase.  If you have special circumstances, a determination may be made concerning whether an exception is warranted.  For example, the Condemning Authority may pay you for moving your structure to a part of your property which is not being acquired.

4.  Will I be compensated for my business losses?
Florida Statutes dictate whether you may qualify for compensation of your losses.  Requirements include: (a) That the taking consists of only a part of the land wherein the business is located and (b) That the taking damages or destroys an established business of more than five (5) years standing.

5.  When will I be told something definite about my situation?
Once the Condemning Authority has received and reviewed the appraisal(s), (the Condemning Authority’s and yours, if prepared) an offer will be made to purchase your property.

6.  May I have someone represent me in negotiations and be reimbursed?
Yes, at your request, the Condemning Authority will negotiate with any agent you select to represent you, with the exception of the initial offer which will be made directly to you.  Negotiations with your agent will be conducted with the intent of your arriving at a mutually agreeable value for your real estate.  The Condemning Authority requires written authorization from you for your agent prior to conducting any negotiations.  If you select an attorney as your agent, the Condemning Authority will pay reasonable fees associated with such representation including other associated expert fees, such as appraisers and CPAs.

Why Hire A Lawyer?

As the government hires its own team of experts to work against the property owner, a lawyer will organize your case and hire experts to “Level the playing field.”

  • A lawyer will ensure your receipt of constitutionally guaranteed just compensation.
  • All reasonable attorney’s fees and costs, including those of a (n) appraiser, contractor, engineer, surveyor, land planner, CPA, are paid by the government at the conclusion of acquisition.
  • A lawyer assembles a team of experts to prepare a property/business owner’s case and defend its position.
  • A lawyer negotiates with the condemning authority regarding compensation and other items important to a business owner, including median openings, access, drainage solutions, and waivers from regulations.
  • A lawyer handles negotiations with other interested parties such as mortgage holders, lienholders and tenants in order to resolve any claims regarding a property owner’s compensation.
  • A lawyer handles court proceedings and trial if necessary.
Mark Bentley, P.A. - Attorneys at Law - One Tampa City Center, Suite 1650 - 201 N. Franklin Street Tampa, Florida 33602
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