Eminent Domain

What is eminent domain?

Eminent domain is the right of the government (state and federal), public corporations (sanitation districts, school districts), public Eminent Domainutilities and public service corporations (power companies, railroads) to take private property for necessary public use.  So long as just compensation is paid to the owner of the property.

If would be best if you kept in mind the government does this taking of property without the property owner’s consent.  Eminent domain is one of the four main government powers you must know for your exam.

What would the government do with the land?

The government would use eminent domain to obtain land for uses such as parks, streets, schools.

How is taking of land by eminent domain achieved?

The government acquires title to land through the process of condemnation.  So, eminent domain is the government power, and the process by which it is achieved is known as condemnation.

Can only a portion of a person’s land be taken?

Yes, sometimes the government only needs a portion of the land.  In this case, the owner would still be due just compensation for the decrease in property value.  This situation brings something to mind.  Does a landowner have to accept what they are offered for their land?  No.  The owner may reject the offer and request the value be determined by a court.

What is inverse condemnation?

It is just the opposite of condemnation.  Under inverse condemnation, a property owner is forcing the government to take their land.  Say a new freeway is built right next to a property which results in a severe decrease in the value of the property.  The property owner may force the city to condemn and purchase their home.

What are the other government powers I need to know for my exam?

I am glad you asked.  You can remember the government powers with a handy acronym.  PETE is the acronym you can use to retain the four government powers.  They are as follows:

  1. Police power, which is the right of the government to regulate to promote the health, safety, and welfare of the public.
  2. Eminent domain, which is a concept explained above.
  3. Taxation is the right of the government to charge a property owner a fee to raise funds to meet the public needs.
  4. Escheat is the reversion of ownerless property to the state and occurs when a property owner dies without any heirs, or any will (intestate).  In this case, the property will revert to the county or state.

What else can help me prepare to pass my real estate licensing exam on my first attempt?

Other tips to help you pass your real estate licensing exam on your first attempt:

Real Estate Test Taking Tips

How to Pass the Real Estate Exam

Real Estate Exam Math Made Easy

Also, check out our question of the day videos on our YouTube channel:

PassMasters Real Estate Exam Prep YouTube Channel