Daniel Island Construction Dispute & Condemnation Lawyer
Condemnation refers to the government taking over someone’s private property and converting it to government use. Believe it or not, such action is perfectly legal, so long as the government follows the proper procedure and fairly compensates landowners for the value of their property. Collin Fuller is an experienced condemnation attorney who represents both condemning authorities and landowners in condemnation proceedings and is fully aware of how the process works for all parties involved. If you are a landowner facing the exercise of eminent domain, Fuller Law Firm can represent you and make sure you are fairly paid for any property that is taken. Contact our experienced Daniel Island construction dispute lawyer today.
What Is Condemnation?
Condemnation refers to the right of the government to exercise its power of eminent domain over private property. This power of the government is recognized in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Enshrined in the Bill of Rights, the Fifth Amendment contains some of the most important protections for citizens against abuse and misuse of government power, such as the right to due process and a fair trial. The Fifth Amendment concludes with what is known as the “takings clause.” Specifically, the Fifth Amendment ends with these words, “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.”
So although the government does have the power to take private property, known as condemnation or eminent domain, this power is subject to explicit limitations. Specifically,
- The taking must be for a public use
- The government must provide “just compensation”
If you have received a notice that the government intends to take your property, you have rights. Fuller Law Firm can advise you and represent you throughout the process, whether you are challenging the taking itself or want to ensure that you receive a fair amount of compensation for your property.
How Condemnations Proceed in South Carolina
Condemnation proceedings in South Carolina are governed by state law, specifically the South Carolina Eminent Domain Procedure Act. The process of eminent domain in South Carolina generally follows these steps:
1. Notice and Negotiation: The process begins with the government or its representative identifying the property needed for a public project. They’ll send you a notice that they’re interested in acquiring your property. Then, they’ll conduct an appraisal to estimate its value. They’ll offer you a price based on this appraisal. You then have the opportunity to accept or reject this offer. You can also negotiate for a better price.
2. Condemnation Proceedings: If you can’t reach an agreement during negotiation, the government may initiate condemnation proceedings. This involves filing a lawsuit to obtain the property. It’s in this stage that the principle of “eminent domain” becomes especially pertinent.
3. Court Hearing: The condemnation case will go before a court. Both sides—the government entity seeking to acquire the property and the property owner—will present their case. This includes arguing for what they believe is the fair market value of the property. The court’s role is to ensure the proposed use of the property is indeed for a public purpose and to determine what is fair compensation for the property owner.
4. Appeal: If either side is unhappy with the court’s decision, they may appeal. This process can extend the time it takes for the proceedings to conclude.
5. Compensation and Transfer: If the court rules in favor of the government entity, then the property will be transferred to that entity. The compensation determined by the court will be given to the property owner.
What Is Inverse Condemnation?
Sometimes the government can be said to take private property without actually taking it, but by damaging or destroying the property’s value through government actions nearby. Examples might include a highway road construction project, airport expansion, or the construction of a sewage treatment plant that creates noise pollution or air pollution that damages the value of your property. Fuller Law Firm helps clients impacted by both physical and regulatory takings in Daniel Island and throughout Charleston.
Contact Fuller Law Firm Today for Help With Eminent Domain and Property Condemnation
If you’ve received a notice of condemnation from a condemning authority in the Charleston or surrounding areas, take steps now to make sure that you are fairly compensated for any taking. Call Fuller Law Firm in Daniel Island to speak with an experienced condemnation lawyer who knows the law and will advocate effectively for your rights and best interests.