Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

Full Bio →

Written by

UPDATED: Jan 21, 2020

Advertiser Disclosure

It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right legal decisions.

We strive to help you make confident insurance and legal decisions. Finding trusted and reliable insurance quotes and legal advice should be easy. This doesn’t influence our content. Our opinions are our own.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about legal topics and insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything legal and insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by experts.

If you have been subject to a condemnation proceeding on your real property, you have probably already been served with a notice of just compensation. Just compensation is the first step to the local or state government condemning your property through the eminent domain process. It is the amount of money the local or state government has decided to offer you in return for your property, and it is ideally meant to be sufficient for your replacement.

The Determination of Just Compensation in Condemnation Proceedings

Just compensation is determined by calculating the actual amount the house or other property would be likely to bring at sale  for its use or potential use on the open market if advertised and marketed for a reasonable period of time. 

For example, if a property cost $200,000, but was only likely to bring $150,000, based on the potential uses (residential vs. commercial) after a ninety day period, the just compensation amount initally determined and offered would likely be $150,000.

Just compensation is a constitutional right, since the government cannot simply take your property without providing you with fair compensation for it. However, while you will be compensated for the taking of your home, if the government has decided to seize it through eminent domain, you will usually have to take the money and accept the sale even if you would prefer not to sell. 

Getting Help

If you are involved in a condemnation action and you have received an offer of just compensation that you do not believe is fair or adequate, you should consult an attorney who can help you take the right steps to protect your Constitutional rights as protected by the Fifth Amendment.