1. What is land condemnation?

Land condemnation is the process by which privately owned real estate is taken from its owner for a public purpose, benefit, or use. The individual or entity condemning—or seizing—the property is called a condemnor. The individual or entity whose property is being condemned is called a condemnee.


2. What is eminent domain?

The legal power to condemn privately owned property for public purpose, benefit, or use is known as the law of eminent domain. Legally, your land may only be taken from you for public or commercial use if it benefits the public.


3. What are my rights if my property is condemned?

You have the federal and state constitutional rights to:

  1. Prevent condemnation if the taking of your land would not serve a public purpose, benefit, or use.
  2. Be paid just compensation for the property taken from you.
  3. Recover moving-related expenses, such as replacement housing, relocation assistance advisory services, and other services, which are subject to various limitations. Recovery of these expenses is in addition to just compensation and is not subject to taxation.


4. Who pays the costs of the condemnation proceeding?

In many cases, the condemnor may be responsible for paying court costs. These costs may include reasonable attorney, appraisal, and engineering fees.

At HensonFuerst, most of our condemnation cases are handled on a contingency fee basis. In those cases where a contingency fee is not applicable or advisable, we may also represent land owners on an hourly basis. Our North Carolina property lawyers will meet with you to determine what is the best alternative for you.


5. Do I need a lawyer to assist me in challenging condemnation or seeking just compensation?

Our law firm has reviewed many condemnation court files in numerous counties over many years, and we believe that landowners who hire a lawyer fare better in condemnation proceedings than unrepresented landowners.

If you are facing land condemnation, our North Carolina eminent domain attorneys are here to help. Give us a call today at (866) 745-7446 or complete a free initial consultation form.


6. What is the North Carolina law on public purpose?

In 2005, in the case, Kelo v. City of New London, the U.S. Supreme Court approved the condemnation of urban land to build commercial properties for the purpose of “future economic development.”

The court found that there was a public purpose even though some of the land would not be open for public use, the land would be leased to private enterprises, and even though there was no guarantee that future economic development would occur. A public outcry ensued and 48 states passed statutes or amendments to their state constitutions prohibiting condemnation for such purposes.

North Carolina is one of two states which have not passed corrective legislation. This means your land may not be protected from eminent domain. Get legal help today by contacting HensonFuerst.


7. What is a Design-Build project?

Because of recent legislative changes, the NCDOT is now subcontracting the entire design, planning, right of way acquisition and construction to outside companies and contractors. While traditionally nearly all roadway projects have been managed by the NCDOT, Design-Build is a new process that is greatly changing how roadways are built in the state. If your property is affected by a Design-Build project, talk with your lawyer about how this may impact your interests.