The Procedure for Eminent Domain and Land Condemnation in North Carolina
The governmental body seeking to condemn the property will first attempt to purchase your property without an individual appraisal. This is referred to as the first purchase offer. The property owner and/or the condemning body or the owner may file with the County Clerk a Motion for Appointment of Commissioners of Appraisal.
The Petition for Appraisal is a standard motion that contains some basic information about the owner(s) and the property.
An appraisal of the property does not preclude an additional suit in tort for property damage. This can be an important step towards your goal of obtaining fair compensation. Additionally, owners may opt to pay for a private appraisal to contest the findings of the commission.
In cases with private condemnors the Clerk will hear the proof and allegations of both parties and if no sufficient cause is shown against granting the prayer of the petition, the Clerk will order the appointment of the commissioners and set the time and place of the meeting.
Where the condemnor challenges the petitioner’s right to maintain the proceedings the Clerk must determine the validity of the challenge before appointing commissioners.
Three disinterested freeholders who reside in the County are chosen to act as commissioners.
First Purchase Offer – Typically the condemning body will contact the property owner with an offer to purchase before notifying them of their intention to condemn. The government/ or condemning body is not required to make a “first purchase offer” before proceeding with condemnation of the property.
Recovery of Costs – At the discretion of the Court, the owner may be reimbursed for the reasonable costs of appraisers, engineers and plats (geographically accurate and legally binding maps drafted by surveryors). Costs may be recovered where an action for condemnation has failed or been abandoned, additionally owners may be compensated for the temporary inability to transfer title of their property.
Just Compensation – defined by NC statute as “fair market value.” If a condemnation project is expanded, additional property taken cannot reflect a decrease in value owing to the condemnation (value reflects the prior worth before condemnation). Any increases in value before it became likely that the expansion would occur may be allowed. (ie. Gov’t highway widening occurs, and adjacent property rises in value, owner will be compensated for value prior to highway widening. If additional condemnation is required, the value will reflect the new value owing to the highway expansion).
A decrease in property value caused by the physical deterioration of the property within the reasonable control of the property owner and by unjustified neglect may be considered in determining value for this reason it is essential that property owners continue to maintain land and structures to maximize appraisal value. There are other factors which must be considered in order to get fair compensation for your property. Call us now at (910) 341-7570 for more information.