Complete Topic List


What Is Eminent Domain?

What Is Eminent Domain?

  • Eminent domain is the government’s right to take a person’s private property for public use.
  • For example, the government may take a person’s private property for the purpose of flood protection.

Does The Government Have To Pay Me To Take My Property?


  • The government must compensate a person from whom private property is taken.
  • For example, the government may buy-out private property located in the footprint of a flood protection plan.

What Is Just Compensation?


  • Just compensation is the fair market value of the property.
  • In establishing the amount of compensation, the government shall not consider any change in the fair market value of the property caused by the reason the project is necessary.
  • For example, the government must appraise a flood damaged home at its pre-flood fair market value.

What Must The Government Show Before It Can Take Private Property?

  • The government must show the property is being taken for a use authorized by law.
  • The government must show that taking the property is necessary for that use.

How Will The Government Take Private Property?


  • The government has a duty to negotiate with a property owner.
  • The government must establish the amount of just compensation or fair market value of the property and promptly make an offer to the property owner for the full amount.
  • The government must provide the property owner with a written appraisal or a written statement and summary for the amount of compensation.

What If My Property Is Damaged By The Disaster, I Received An Abatement Or Demolition Notice, But My Property May Be Taken By Eminent Domain In The Future?


  • Even if your private property may be located in the area of a future buy-out, you must abate any source of nuisance, source of filth, and any cause of sickness when necessary to protect the public health and safety.

What Can I Do If I Do Not Want The Government To Take My Property?


  • A person with an interest in any of the property to be taken may file a complaint with the District Court.
  • The court shall hear and determine the parties’ claims to the property sought to be condemned and the damages thereof.
  • The court shall determined the respective rights of the parties seeking condemnation of private property.

Who Can I Contact With Questions About Eminent Domain?


  • Legal Services of North Dakota (LSND) provides free legal help to low-income and elderly people.


DISCLAIMER:  This information is not legal advice.  If you have a legal problem, you should talk to a lawyer and ask for advice about your options.

Published by Legal Services of North Dakota

October 2012