Iowa Eminent Domain Explained

A Summary of Eminent Domain and Hiring an Eminent Domain Lawyer in Iowa

Few issues evoke such strong opposition as the taking of private land through eminent domain for a public use. When it comes to eminent domain, the government is playing in their arena; they do this every day. They know what the rules are, they know how the rules affect them and they know how the rules affect property owners. If the government is taking your land, make sure that you become informed so that you know what you can and cannot do. If you have any additional questions for an Iowa eminent domain attorney, feel free to contact us at 866-339-7242.

Your initial question might be, can I stop the process? In most cases, you won’t be able to prevent the government from acquiring your land, but you are entitled to just compensation under eminent domain law. Learn more about eminent domain generally and what you’re entitled to receive, or continue reading through to learn about the Iowa eminent domain process, your rights as a property owner and hiring an Iowa eminent domain attorney.

Biersdorf & Associates is an Iowa eminent domain law firm with experience handling cases nationwide. We only represent property owners, never the condemning authority or government. We maintain an extensive practice in Iowa, with clients ranging from Des Moines to Waukon, and south to Fort Madison and many cities in between. Regardless of where you are in the state of Iowa, we are the Iowa eminent domain attorney of your choice.

Did you know that most Iowa eminent domain attorneys work on a contingent fee basis? With this fee structure, the attorney assumes the risk of earning a fee. Also, Iowa has a liberal attorney fee recovery statute, which means even small claimants can hire an experienced lawyer to help them obtain just compensation.

Rural Road in IA

Iowa Eminent Domain Process

In the state of Iowa, the eminent domain process can only be stopped if the proposed taking does not meet the requirements for public purpose or public necessity. If you have determined that the proposed taking does meet these requirements, then you should learn more about the Iowa eminent domain process. If you want a free consultation with an Iowa eminent domain attorney, contact us at 866-339-7242 today!

Remember, even if the government has the right to condemn your property, they cannot dictate the price they are willing to pay; compensation is determined by the highest and best use laws for your property. The following page contains detailed legal information and a flow chart on the Iowa eminent domain process.

Learn more about the Iowa Eminent Domain Process

Iowa Property Rights

The eminent domain abuse dialogue often centers on policy issues involving the right to take property for economic development and blight. Since the landmark case of Kelo v. City of New London in 2005, many states have taken measures to help curb eminent domain abuse. Some states were very successful at passing meaningful reform, and other states failed to pass any legislation at all. Most states fall in the middle by passing legislation that looks good on paper but does little to level the playing field between property owners and the government.

The Castle Coalition, a nationwide grassroots property activism project by the Institute for Justice, released a comprehensive report in 2006 that graded each state based on eminent domain legislative changes which expand and protect property rights.

Did you know that the Castle Coalition gave Iowa a B- when it comes to property owners’ protection against eminent domain?

Learn more about Iowa Property Rights

Hiring an Eminent Domain Attorney in Iowa

If your instincts tell you that the offer from the government is low, then it probably is. However, determining just compensation often requires an attorney to identify damages and help guide you through the Iowa eminent domain process. Additionally, other experts are needed such as an appraiser and maybe an engineer or planner to provide evidence and expert testimony on your behalf.

Most Iowa eminent domain attorneys work on a contingent fee basis. With this fee structure, the attorney assumes the risk for earning a fee. Property owners are generally only responsible for paying costs, with the primary cost being the appraiser who values the property. Because of the contingent fee structure, most eminent domain attorneys will conduct a free case evaluation for property owners prior to recommending representation.

Are my Attorney’s Fees Recoverable in Eminent Domain in Iowa?

Also, Iowa has passed legislation that requires the government or condemning authority to pay a property owner’s attorney’s fees and costs in eminent domain cases when certain criteria are met. Iowa Code § 6B.33 states that attorney’s fees and costs, including the reasonable cost of one appraisal may be recovered in Iowa as determined by the commissioners if the award given is at least 110% of the final offer made by the condemning authority. The property owner must submit an application for fees and costs prior to adjournment of the final meeting held by the commission to determine compensation. The condemning authority shall pay all reasonable costs and incurred fees, unless on the trial date, a lesser amount of damages is awarded.

If you’re affected by eminent domain, you should obtain a consultation so that you know and understand your rights before taking any action. Remember, the government is like any buyer, they will want to purchase your property as cheaply as possible, and their appraisers may neglect to consider damages that can lead to a larger amount of just compensation. For a free case analysis, contact us one of our Iowa eminent domain attorney today at 866-339-7242.

Very few attorneys can claim expertise in the area of eminent domain law. Make sure you consult with an eminent domain trial attorney who can effectively identify damages and select the necessary experts. Your attorney should also be able to interface with the condemning authority and be willing to take your case to trial if negotiations can not be reached. Contact us for a free case evaluation.

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