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Navigating Eminent Domain in North & South Carolina: Protecting Your Property Rights

Eminent domain, the power of the government to acquire private property for public use, can profoundly impact property owners and investors in both North and South Carolina. While the exercise of eminent domain is constitutionally sanctioned, it is subject to certain limitations and requirements, such as providing just compensation to the affected property owners. However, navigating the complexities of eminent domain proceedings and ensuring that your property rights are adequately protected requires a deep understanding of the legal landscape and the support of specialized counsel.

In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the intricacies of eminent domain laws in North and South Carolina, examining the various types of takings, the procedures and requirements for condemnation proceedings, and the factors that influence just compensation determinations. Furthermore, we will emphasize the importance of partnering with an experienced eminent domain attorney, who can champion your property rights, provide expert guidance throughout the process, and ensure that you receive fair compensation in the event of a taking.

Embark on the complex journey of eminent domain in North and South Carolina with the seasoned expertise of the Steltzner Law Firm, LLC by your side. Unravel the nuances of condemnation proceedings, fortified by a solid understanding of the legal framework and a commitment to safeguarding your property rights. 

With an informed approach and the right legal representation, you can successfully navigate the challenges of eminent domain, ensuring that your property interests are not unduly compromised or neglected in the face of government power.

Types of Takings in Eminent Domain Proceedings

Understanding the various types of takings in eminent domain proceedings is crucial for property owners to fully comprehend their rights and the nature of the government’s actions:

  1. Complete Taking: This occurs when the entirety of a property is acquired by the government for public use, such as a road expansion project. Here, the property owner is typically entitled to compensation for the entire value of the property, including any improvements on it.
  2. Partial Taking: In a partial taking, only a portion of a property is acquired for public use. This can result in decreased property value, loss of access, or adverse impacts on the remaining property. In such cases, property owners are entitled to compensation not only for the taken portion but also for any accompanying damages to the remaining property.
  3. Temporary Taking: Temporary takings involve a limited duration of use of the property for public purposes, such as construction activities or emergency access. Just compensation must be provided for any damages or losses the property owner incurs during the temporary taking.
  4. Regulatory Taking: Imposing certain land-use regulations or zoning restrictions that severely limit the use and value of a property may be considered regulatory takings under certain circumstances. In these cases, the property owner may be entitled to compensation for the diminished value of the property due to the government-imposed restrictions.

Eminent Domain Procedures and Requirements

Eminent domain proceedings in North and South Carolina involve specific procedures and requirements that aim to safeguard property owners’ rights while allowing the government to pursue public projects:

  1. Public Purpose: The government must establish a valid public purpose for the taking, such as improving infrastructure, public safety, or environmental protection.
  2. Good Faith Negotiation: Before initiating condemnation proceedings, the government is required to engage in good faith negotiations with the property owner to reach an agreement on a fair purchase price.
  3. Condemnation Proceedings: In the event that negotiations fail, the government may file a condemnation action in court to acquire the property. The court will determine the validity of the taking and the just compensation owed to the property owner.
  4. Appeals Process: Property owners have the right to appeal the court’s decision, challenging either the validity of the taking or the amount of compensation awarded.

Factors Influencing Just Compensation Determinations

Numerous factors can impact the determination of just compensation in eminent domain proceedings:

  1. Fair Market Value: The primary consideration in determining just compensation is the property’s fair market value, reflecting its highest and best use at the time of the taking.
  2. Loss of Access: If a taking results in restricted access to a property, the property owner may be entitled to compensation for the decreased value and potential loss of business or rental income.
  3. Severance Damages: In partial takings, compensation must account for any damages to the remaining property due to diminished usability, loss of value, or other adverse impacts stemming from the taking.
  4. Relocation Expenses: Property owners may be entitled to reimbursement for reasonable relocation expenses for moving their residence or business as a direct result of the taking.

The Role of Eminent Domain Attorneys in Protecting Property Rights

An eminent domain attorney’s expertise plays a vital role in defending property owners’ rights and ensuring fair compensation in condemnation proceedings:

  1. Legal Representation and Negotiation: Eminent domain attorneys represent property owners throughout the negotiations process with the government, advocating for fair compensation and protecting their clients’ interests.
  2. Valuation and Damage Assessments: Attorneys collaborate with appraisers, engineers, and other experts to gather evidence supporting the property’s value and any damages incurred due to the taking.
  3. Court Representation: In case of a condemnation action, attorneys represent property owners in court, challenging the validity of the taking or arguing for higher compensation.


Navigating the intricacies of eminent domain laws and proceedings in North and South Carolina requires thorough understanding and skilled legal representation. By partnering with the Steltzner Law Firm, LLC, property owners can effectively safeguard their rights, ensuring fair compensation and expert guidance in the face of eminent domain challenges. 

With an informed approach and the support of dedicated attorneys, property owners can confidently address eminent domain concerns, securing their property interests and ultimately maintaining the value of their investments.

Embark on the journey of understanding eminent domain proceedings with the support of an experienced real estate lawyer from the Steltzner Law Firm, LLC. With a strong foundation in the nuances and laws of eminent domain in North and South Carolina, property owners can better protect their property rights and overall interests.