FAQ > Eminent Domain FAQs
Frequently Asked Questions
What is “eminent domain?”
Eminent domain is the power of the federal, state, and local governments to take private property for public use.
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If my property is taken for public use, how much compensation am I entitled to?
When property is taken or appropriated for public use, the government is required by law to pay the owner just compensation. Just compensation under Ohio law is defined as the “fair market value” of the property taken. Fair market value is the amount of money which could be obtained on the market at a voluntary sale of the property. It is the amount a purchaser who is willing, but not required to buy, would pay and that a seller who is willing, but not required to sell, would accept, when both are fully aware and informed of all the circumstances involving the value and use of the property. This should include every element that a buyer would consider before making a purchase, such as the location, surrounding area, quality and general condition of the premises, the improvements thereon and everything that adds to or detracts from the value of the property.
If only part of the property is taken, the owner may also be entitled to damages in addition to the fair market value of the property. Damages are the loss in value of the residue of the property because of its severance from the property taken
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What if the property owner disagrees with the State on how much compensation the owner should receive?
In accordance with Ohio Constitution § 1.19, the owner of property taken for public use is entitled to have the amount of compensation assessed by a jury. So, if the State and the property owner cannot agree on the amount of compensation, the State will file a lawsuit called an appropriation action and there will be a jury trial to determine the amount of compensation owed.
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Where does the State of Ohio get the power get the power of eminent domain?
The Constitution of the United States and the Ohio Constitution both specifically authorize the taking of private property, both real and personal, for public use.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.
The Ohio Constitution reads:
§ 1.19 Inviolability of private property (1851)
Private property shall ever be held inviolate, but subservient to the public welfare. When taken in time of war or other public exigency, imperatively requiring its immediate seizure or for the purpose of making or repairing roads, which shall be open to the public, without charge, a compensation shall be made to the owner, in money, and in all other cases, where private property shall be taken for public use, a compensation therefor shall first be made in money, or first secured by a deposit of money; and such compensation shall be assessed by a jury, without deduction for benefits to any property of the owner.
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