If your property is in jeopardy of being condemned because of a pipeline, transmission line, road, water pipeline, or other condemnation project, you must act now! Braun & Gresham, PLLC represents landowners in the condemnation process and will work diligently to protect your property, minimize impact, and ensure just compensation for damages.
Land isn’t renewable so it’s important that you protect your land: contact Audrey Banner at 512-894-5426 to arrange a free 30 minute consultation with one of our property rights professionals.
General Information on Understanding Condemnation
Condemnation, or as its sometimes referred to as, ‘eminent domain’ is a process used by government, and other private entities to acquire private property for public use. Condemnation comes in many forms- roads, transmission lines, pipelines, ROW, easements, sewer lines, etc.- but its purpose is universal: to devote private land to civic use or, in some instances, for economic development. In the case of pipeline construction, Texas has been aggressively acquiring private land through condemnation to transport oil, natural gas, sewage and water across the state to accommodate the needs of a growing population and a recent surge in oil and gas production.
The important thing to remember is that even if you’ve received a letter in the mail from a condemnation entity informing you of their intentions, this does not mean that it’s a done deal. There are many ways to influence the condemnation process to ensure that your wants and needs are met, but it’s important that you involve knowledgeable professionals that can help guide you through the process. Our condemnation practice is built on three principles:
- Helping our clients plan the route to do the least damage to the use of their property;
- Negotiating documents to limit the uses of condemned land to prevent future intrusions and stop companies from taking advantage of landowners; and
- Getting a fair payment for clients.
Texas has been aggressively acquiring private land through condemnation for roads across the state to accommodate the needs of a growing population. Below is a list of some road projects that are being proposed or under construction in Texas:
If you have been contacted by any of these companies or their subsidiary, please contact us immediately. The important thing to remember is that even if you’ve received a letter in the mail from a condemnation entity informing you of their intentions, this does not mean that it’s a done deal. There are many ways to influence the condemnation process to ensure that your wants and needs are met, but it’s important that you involve knowledgeable professionals that can help guide you through the process.
The Newest Law – Know Your Rights
On September 1st, 2011 Texas law changed. Entities seeking to acquire private property by eminent domain will now be required by law to a) make a “bona fide offer” to acquire the property voluntarily before wielding their power of eminent domain, and b) make a much stronger justification of the reason for which the entity intends to acquire the private property. Whereas previously, a condemnation entity was only required to assert the “purpose” for which they intended to use a condemned property, now they are required to show that the property will be used for a “public use” or benefit.
This new change in the law represents a significant win for landowners since it now makes it more difficult for entities with eminent domain authority to condemn property without justification and it provides landowners a much better chance of obtaining just compensation for the true value of their property. These new requirements will also result in an extended window of time for landowners to act on notices of condemnation, leaving more time for planning and negotiation.
This is not to say, however that this law will dilute the power of government or private entities with eminent domain authority. If an agreement with the condemning entity cannot be reached, they can still file a lawsuit to ultimately obtain your land. That’s why it’s still important to obtain legal representation. In fact, with all of these new regulations and requirements, it is more important than ever for landowners fighting condemnation to seek legal counsel. With this law comes a whole new set of exchanges between landowners and eminent domain entities that requires legal knowledge of complex language, skilled negotiation, and timely deadlines. As one of the top property rights firms in the nation, Braun & Gresham, PLLC stays abreast of new developments in the law, and is committed to guiding you though this and other transitions during the condemnation process.
The Braun & Gresham Difference
A lot of other condemnation attorneys represent oil and gas companies and government entities, but we don’t wear both hats – we only represent landowners. At Braun & Gresham, PLLC we work with landowners to develop a strategy that meets their needs, taking into consideration that some clients might want to protect their land and views, while others might be willing to take the line or road but want to get the most money possible for the easement. We are committed to saving our clients money and will work on contingency or hourly fees, but believe that hourly fees allow us to deliver a better product. We represent a long history of relationships with industry leaders, making the negotiation phase of condemnation much more fluid and transparent for our clients. Finally, Braun & Gresham, PLLC brings authority and expertise to the condemnation process which translates to a place at the table- or as one of our clients described it: “With (Braun & Gresham), we had a voice, and a voice the (industry leaders) would listen to. Most people lose, and we didn’t.”