Texas landowners often have questions about eminent domain, the government right to seize land for the public good. The state Office of the Attorney General has published the Landowners’ Bill of Rights, which addresses many common concerns of those who own homes, property, open space and businesses in Texas.
Review the facts about how eminent domain works in Texas.
Eminent domain compensation
An authorized government agency must offer the landowner a good faith offer for the property before starting the public domain process. If the landowner rejects the offer and the state approves eminent domain, he or she must receive fair compensation for the value of his or her property.
The landowner must receive written eminent domain notification accompanied by an appraisal by a qualified, certified professional. He or she has the right to hire an attorney to negotiate a higher price and may also hire his or her own appraiser.
The hearing process
After receiving notice of eminent domain, the landowner can request a hearing. The court will appoint three special commissioners to determine a fair compensation amount for the property. When the landowner does not agree with the decision of the special commissioners’ panel, he or she has the right to a trial before a jury or judge as well as the right to appeal the results of the trial.
If the landowner does not successfully appeal the eminent domain decision or accepts an earlier offer from the agency, he or she can receive relocation reimbursement for a move within 50 miles of the seized property.