How to Fight Back Against Eminent Domain in South Carolina
Thanks to voters in 2006, the use of eminent domain for economic purposes in South Carolina has been prohibited. That vote brought in a constitutional amendment, which now prohibits the government from seizing and condemning property unless they need it for public use, such as expanding a road or constructing a bridge. Still, eminent domain is still very much alive and well in the state, and there are important things all property owners should know. Below, our Daniel Island condemnation lawyer explains what those are.
Challenging Eminent Domain is Difficult
When people fight back against eminent domain, it is known as the right to challenge. While voters in South Carolina have been successful in the past, and have greatly limited the scope the government can use to seize property, it is still very difficult to challenge an eminent domain action.
The vote that made it illegal for the government to seize property for economic reasons also made it more difficult to challenge eminent domain actions. That same vote also made it illegal for the government to seize property on the basis that it is blighted. In these instances, the government must show that a property poses a clear danger to health and safety. This is a much narrower definition of what was considered “blighted” prior to the 2006 vote.
While South Carolina Amendment 7, also known as the Eminent Domain Act, allowed more people to keep their homes, it also made it harder for people to challenge eminent domain actions. Due to the narrower scope of Amendment 7, the government must only show that a property is being seized for public use. If they can show it, the government can move forward with the condemnation. The best course of action property owners have now is to usually challenge the government’s value of the home.
Challenging the Offer
If you believe the offer the government made you is unfair, it is important to obtain an independent appraisal. If your property has been condemned, it is unlikely that you will receive a windfall for it, but you should receive fair compensation that is aligned with the appraisal. On larger properties, the government typically makes an offer that leaves some room for negotiation.
After the government has appraised the property, they should make an offer, as well as a reasonable effort to negotiate a fair price. If an agreement cannot be reached, the government will begin the condemnation process by sending the property owner a notice. If there is no response, it is assumed the offer has been rejected. The government can then take the matter to trial or to an appraisal panel.
Our Condemnation Lawyer in Daniel Island Can Help You Through the Process
As with any legal matter, there are procedures and deadlines to follow in condemnation cases. At Fuller Law Firm, our Daniel Island condemnation lawyer has the necessary experience in these matters to ensure that you do not forfeit your rights because proper procedure was not followed. Call us now at 843-277-0013 or chat with us online to schedule a consultation and to learn more about how we can help.