When you learn the government or other entities with eminent domain authority wants to purchase your property for public use, you may feel like you do not have control. The initial offer may be underwhelming, and you may have many questions about the taking, as well as the process to come.

The Office of the Attorney General of Texas prepared a document called the Landowner’s Bill of Rights to help citizens understand their rights when it comes to a taking.

Here are some of the rights protected by the Landowner’s Bill of Rights.

The use of condemned property

Both the Texas government and private entities are limited in how they can use property taken through eminent domain authority. The property must be intended for public use. In Texas, your property cannot be taken for economic development projects or to enhance tax revenues. Examples of public use projects can include:

  • Utility lines
  • Pipelines
  • Roadways
  • Parks
  • Schools
  • Hospitals

If, after a certain period of time, the condemning entity does not use your land for public purpose, you may have the opportunity to buy your property back for the price the entity paid.

You can choose your own team

The entity who seeks to take your property must provide you with a written appraisal from a certified appraiser, offering adequate compensation in exchange for the property. This can be frustrating to receive an unsatisfying offer based on this appraisal. However, the Landowner’s Bill of Rights states that the landowner may hire both their own appraiser to determine the value of the property and attorney to help them throughout the process.

It is critical to talk to a professional who can support you through the taking process. An attorney can both inform you of your rights and help you advocate for these rights as a property owner.