South Carolina Eminent Domain / Land Condemnation
The state of South Carolina, its capital of Columbia, and the historic city of Charleston are home to many cultural attractions. Among them are venues for visual and performing arts, including the Columbia Museum of Art, the South Carolina State Museum, and the Newberry Opera House. Several colleges and universities are located in the state, such as Furman University, the University of South Carolina, and Wofford College. As in other states, property owners sometimes find that the federal, state, or local government exercises eminent domain over their land. This power allows the taking of private property for public use, but an entity that exercises it must fairly compensate an individual from whom it is taken. At Grimes Teich Anderson, our property lawyers can assist residents of South Carolina in seeking proper compensation or taking action against an entity that does not provide it.Understanding the Process of Eminent Domain
Eminent domain is the government’s right to acquire private property for public use. A traditional governmental entity includes a federal, state, or city government. Agencies or entities created by the government, such as a school district, a public utility company, or a hospital district, may also be able to exercise the power of eminent domain. These entities are often known as quasi-government agencies.
Under the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, private property cannot be taken for public use without just compensation. This is usually defined as the fair market value of the property. The South Carolina Eminent Domain Procedure Act contains the state laws in this area. Under the Act, the government can commence an action for the acquisition of an interest in any real property necessary for a public purpose. The law also provides that the government may take possession of the property in certain instances. For example, the government can take possession of a property at any time upon written consent of the owner or owners on record, or upon payment to the property owner of a compensation amount on which they have mutually agreed.
The terms “eminent domain” and “condemnation” are sometimes used interchangeably. It is important to remember that condemnation refers to the legal process, such as the judicial or administrative proceeding, that the government uses to exercise the power of eminent domain. Inverse condemnation takes place when the property owner initiates the action, rather than the government, alleging that the government has acquired an interest in his or her land without providing just compensation. In other words, the owner sues the government under the theory that he or she is entitled to fair compensation, just as under ordinary condemnation, because his or her property has been greatly damaged or reduced in value. For instance, excessive noise from an airport might greatly devalue an individual’s private residential property.Seek Legal Guidance on Land Use Matters in South Carolina
The eminent domain litigation attorneys at Grimes Teich Anderson provide dedicated representation to South Carolina property owners who are facing the exercise of eminent domain. Our goal is to help individuals in this situation pursue compensation for the loss or devaluation of real estate. This can be a complex area of law, and we are ready to devote the time and attention needed to address your concerns. Grimes Teich Anderson assists residents of communities throughout South Carolina, including Greenville, Spartanburg, and Gaffney. To learn more about your legal rights and options, contact us online or call us at 864-421-0770.