Inverse Condemnation Law

Inverse Condemnation Explained

Under the rules of eminent domain law, the condemning authority must declare a taking when acquiring private property without an owner’s consent. This taking triggers the property owner’s right to pursue additional just compensation. Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, the condemning authority may take property or property rights from an owner without declaring a taking and initiating the eminent domain process; thus preventing the property owner from pursuing a claim for just compensation. In this situation, a property owner has the right to file an inverse condemnation claim.

Under inverse condemnation, the property owner has the right to go to court and explain that the actions of the alleged condemning authority amount to a taking of property. The court will then declare that a taking of property has occurred, giving the property owner the ability to move on to the damages phase of their case where they can pursue a claim for just compensation.

There are two general categories of inverse condemnation law: regulatory takings and physical takings. Also worth mentioning are unreasonable development restrictions, which can result in a regulatory taking. Continue browsing through the tabs below for additional information on these topics.

Regulatory Takings

Regulatory Takings are the most common inverse condemnation situation and arise when a government entity passes some type of regulation that restricts a property owners ability to use their property. The common term for this is zoning. In the past few decades, zoning ordinances have started to encroach more and more on property owners, consequently restricting and changing the way they can use their property.

Learn more about Regulatory Takings


Unreasonable Development Restrictions

Unreasonable development restrictions are akin to regulatory takings and arise when a government authority imposes restrictions on a property owner who is attempting to develop their property. This occurs when the governing authority restricts development of property to its highest and best use, or development of any kind is entirely restricted because of regulations imposed on a property owner when they attempt to obtain building permits or zoning changes.

Learn more about Unreasonable Development Restrictions


Physical Takings

Rarely will a condemning authority fail to declare a taking and institute proper eminent domain procedures when taking physical property such as a portion of a property owner’s front yard, or the parking lot of a business. However, occasionally a condemning authority will take away property rights, such as restricting or removing access without declaring a taking. The taking of property rights such as access is treated as a physical taking in eminent domain law and therefore requires the payment of just compensation. In this situation, a property owner has the right to file an inverse condemnation claim to initiate the eminent domain process.

Learn more about Physical Takings

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