Can I negotiate for more compensation in a quick-take?
Yes! The truth is that you need not accept the government’s offer of compensation. Once you’ve properly notified them that you disagree with their offer, you’re still entitled to whatever funds they deposit with the court while still seeking additional compensation.
What are some signs that my property may be subject to a quick-take?
Generally, signs of a possible quick-take are the same as any other eminent domain taking. The majority of eminent domain takings in North Carolina are by the NCDOT. Almost every project undertaken by the NCDOT has an extensive history of planning, engineering, and public discussion. Be on the lookout for signs, hearing notices, and the like. Talk to your neighbors.
Another sign that your property may be destined for taking is the presence of the government’s agents on your property. These are usually right-of-way agents, surveyors, and others who are measuring and determining what is needed. The same laws that give the government the right to take your property afford them the right of access your property before the taking.
In other words, they don’t need your permission to enter your property for eminent domain planning.
Maybe you’re at work or can’t see all of your property. Another sign may be stakes, paint, or other markers on the property. It is NOT in your best interests to tamper with or remove these markers.
What if the quick-take is only a small easement?
What if someone were to occupy your property, pay you less than it is worth, and leave you with little right to use it while you have to pay property taxes on it each year? That’s what an easement may do, and the effect of an easement on your property could be far-reaching. That’s right: even though your use of your property with an easement may be significantly reduced, you still shoulder the tax burden.
Permanent easements “run with the land” and will always be there when it comes time to sell the property. Temporary easements may prevent you from using your property during construction. You can’t use part of your property how you want if your desired use conflicts with DOT’s use of the easement.
Easements are a very tricky part of North Carolina’s eminent domain law. Before you agree to one, it’s highly advisable to consult with an eminent domain attorney. This is doubly true with a quick-take, as the condemning authority hopes to get what it needs quickly and may not fully disclose all usage rights.