Raleigh Real Estate Attorneys Manage Inverse Condemnation Actions
Dedicated representation for landowners and municipalities throughout North Carolina
Eminent domain is the government’s power to take privately owned real estate for public use by condemning the property and paying the owner fair market value. But what happens when the government stops short of actually taking the property and simply diminishes the property’s value to the owner? The process of inverse condemnation is available to landowners who have lost the benefit of their property due to a government action or a breach of the government’s duty. Since 1983, Howard, Stallings, From, Atkins, Angell & Davis, P.A. has protected the constitutional rights of property owners in Raleigh and the surrounding areas. If government activity has negatively affected your property, we can help you recoup your losses through inverse condemnation. Our firm has represented commercial and residential landlords and real estate developers in controversies valued at many millions of dollars. We are prepared to help you get the relief you deserve.
How inverse condemnation works in North Carolina
In a normal eminent domain procedure, the government attaches a property and makes what it considers a fair offer. The two sides negotiate the final price, and the owner surrenders the property. In an inverse condemnation, the government has acted without regard for the property or the owner’s rights. The owner must bring a lawsuit against the government, alleging actions that are effectively a “taking” of the property and demanding fair market value for the loss. In essence, the landowner forces the government to buy the property or pay damages for its lost value.
What kind of government activity gives grounds for inverse condemnation?
To sue for inverse condemnation, an aggrieved property owner must show that the drop in property value was due to government action or negligent inaction. This can include:
- Diminution of access — When government development of a surrounding area cuts off ingress and egress to a property, making the land no longer a viable site for a business, an owner can sue for inverse condemnation.
- Partial condemnation — When the government only takes part of a tract of land for development, it could render the remaining parcel useless. For example, if the government condemned a parking lot, the adjacent restaurant could be put out of business. Since the restaurant is no longer a viable business site, the owner could sue for inverse condemnation.
- Regulatory takings — When the government makes changes in the law that prevent a landowner from conducting business on the property, the property could be considered “taken” for Fifth Amendment purposes. If the regulations deprive the owner of economically reasonable use of the property, it’s as though the property has been lost even if the owner retains title. If the state or municipality has placed unreasonable land use restrictions on a property, and the owner cannot make viable commercial use of the land, inverse condemnation is appropriate.
- Government inaction — If the government is negligent in its failure to prevent a foreseeable disaster, an affected property owner can file an inverse condemnation action. This is permissible to avoid an unjust result, whereby one or a few individuals would be forced to bear a burden that should fall on the public as a whole.
Your case for inverse condemnation depends on a wide array of facts, especially those that can prove the worth of your land before and after the government activity in question.
To learn more about our eminent domain services, see the individual profiles of our lead attorneys:
When the government engages in actions that deprive you of your property rights, seek the help of our experienced real estate legal team.
Contact our Raleigh law firm to protect your property rights through inverse condemnation
Howard, Stallings, From, Atkins, Angell & Davis, P.A. helps businesses and individuals bring inverse condemnation actions. We also represent municipalities accused of unlawful takings. To schedule an appointment with our experienced legal team, call 919-821-7700 or contact us online.