If you are an Austin landowner, you may be familiar with the concept of condemnation, or the lawsuit process that government agencies use to take private land. The government cannot take your land unless they provide just compensation, but many condemning authorities try to spend as little as possible during condemnation.
To protect your rights, you need an attorney on your side—and Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP can help. We advocate for the rights of Austin landowners during condemnation by leveraging trial-ready preparation, our extensive Texas property law knowledge, and our firm’s breadth of resources.
Why Choose Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP:
- We have over 15 years of experience defending every type of property, representing hundreds of clients including private individuals, businesses, and large corporations.
- Even though many cases settle out of court, our Texas condemnation attorneys prepare each case for trial to signal that we are willing and able to fight for your property rights.
- Our firm will advocate for your optimal outcome throughout your case. We will take the time to learn your story, answer your questions, and update you about your claim.
When Can the Government Take Your Land in Texas?
According to Texas Property Code Chapter 21, government entities may only take a piece of property under certain circumstances. Overall, the agency must only take the land for public use, and that public use must be valid.
Examples of situations where the government may exercise its right to condemnation include the following.
- Building a new highway, street, or toll road
- Creating new public transportation facilities, such as airports, railroads, or sports stadiums
- Establishing schools and public parks
- Developing storm, drainage, and water systems
- Constructing a water, gas, or oil pipeline
- Flooding land to build a dam
- Creating new electric transmission lines or power stations
If the intended use for your Austin land is not for a public use, the government cannot take it. If the intended use is for a valid public use however, the entity must provide just compensation based on the value of your land. The government may hire an appraiser to look at your property, attempting to unilaterally determine compensation—or what seems to be.
Should You Accept the First Settlement Offer?
The condemnation process can be challenging. You may want to accept the first offer to avoid entering the lawsuit process, but it is important to remember that this settlement may not be the property’s maximum value. These entities want to save as much money as possible, so the first offer you receive may not be sufficient.
Hiring an attorney can protect your best interests during the condemnation process, from representation during negotiations to trial-ready preparation. Your attorney from Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP can also help you hire an expert appraiser to evaluate your land to ensure you obtain just compensation for your claim. If his or her estimation differs from the government’s calculation, we will fight aggressively for the highest possible result.
Contact Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP Today
If the government wants control of your property, you deserve just compensation. The first offer you receive may not cover the full value of your land, and in these situations, you need an attorney. The Austin condemnation attorneys at Marrs Ellis & Hodge LLP have the experience necessary to handle high-stakes property litigation, allowing you to defend your constitutional rights.