Eminent Domain Terms

Acquiring Authority-A public or quasi-public entity vested with the constitutional or statutory power to acquire private property for a public use.

Additional Items Payable-Persons displaced by the public project are to be fairly compensated by the payment of relocation assistance and assistance in the acquisition of replacement housing.

Appraisal-A written report, by a professional and disinterested person skilled in valuation, describing the property that is to be acquired and reaching a documented conclusion as to the fair market value of such property.

Certificate of Compensation-A document recorded with the register of deeds when a sale is negotiated between the owner and the acquiring authority. It contains the names of persons with a record interest in the property, a legal description, the typed of interest acquired, and the amount of compensation. All persons named should be sent a copy and a notice of the right to appeal the amount of compensation.

Condemnation Commission-A group of local residents, appointed by the circuit court of a county for fixed terms, who have the authority to determine just compensation for the property being acquired.

Date of Acquisition-The day the award of the condemnation commission is paid to the property owner or to the circuit court for the benefit of the property owner.

Date of Evaluation-The day on which the lis pendens is recorded in the office of the register of deeds in the county where the land is located. The fair market value of the property on this day is just compensation to the property owner for the acquisition. For negotiated sales, the date of acquisition and the date of evaluation is the date the conveyance is recorded with the register of deeds.

Determination of Necessity-A finding, made by the acquiring authority or the court, that the authority has the right to acquire private land for a specific public use.

Easement-An interest in real property which gives the acquiring authority the legal right to use the property for a specific purpose or to restrict the property owner's use of the land. Ownership and title to the property remain with the property owner.

Eminent Domain-The power of the state to acquire private property for a public use.

Fair Market Value-The amount for which property could be sold in the open market between a willing buyer and a willing seller.

Full Narrative Appraisal-A detailed and comprehensive description of the process an appraiser uses in regard to a certain property to reach an opinion of its fair market value. The opinion must contain the appraiser's rationale for determining value and be documented by market data which supports the appraiser's rationale.

Incidental Expenses-Reasonable and necessary amounts, defined by statute, payable to the owner of real property acquired for a public use. Generally, incidental expenses compensate for expenses you may incur in transfer of your property to the acquiring authority. They include recording fees, mortgage prepayment penalties and other items.

Jurisdictional Offer-A written notice given by the acquiring authority to the owner of property and any mortgagee of record which informs the recipients of the proposed public use, what property is being acquired, and the amount of compensation to be paid.

Lis Pendens-A notice filed with the register of deeds when the acquiring authority files a petition with the court seeking a hearing before the condemnation commission. It notifies all interested parties that the property described is in the process of being acquired for a public use. The day the lis pendens is filed is the "date of evaluation," except in the case of an acquisition by a public utility, or a negotiated sale.

Litigation Expenses-The sum of the costs, disbursements and expenses including reasonable attorney, appraisal and engineering fees necessary to prepare for, or participate in, actual or anticipated proceedings before a condemnation commission or any court.

Severance Damages-Damages which may result when only part of a person's property is condemned. Generally, these items of damage compensate for any loss in value of the remaining property due to the acquisition.

Uneconomic Remnant-Any portion of the property remaining after a partial acquisition which is of little value or substantially impaired economic viability due to its size, shape or condition.

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