Is the Government Taking Part of Your Commercial Property? Double-Check Their Survey and Title Work

It’s happened. The government is seizing part of your residential or commercial property for a public project. Maybe they’re widening the street, making way for light rail, or adding an entirely new roadway adjacent to your property. Many property owners assume that if the government is starting construction, all the legal legwork must be complete.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. The government may not have done its due diligence on completing a thorough land survey and the proper title work before they start digging. As a result, the construction crew may not have a firm grasp of where your property ends the government’s newly acquired land begins. This can lead to misunderstandings and in the worst cases, destruction to the property you retained.

When part of your residential or commercial property is being taken by the government through eminent domain, I highly advise that you get your own land survey and hire an eminent domain attorney to coordinate the required title work. By being proactive, you can avoid unnecessary costs, heartache, and frustration from the government digging where it shouldn’t.

A Land Survey Confirms Property Boundary Lines

An independent land survey is a vital component of any eminent domain case, but an especially important one for cases where the government is seizing only part of your property. The survey will confirm the new boundary lines for your property and help the government understand where it can and cannot dig.

Though the government is responsible for completing its own survey, getting an independent survey my well be worth cost. It gives you more legal evidence of where your property begins and ends in case there is a dispute during or after the government project.

First, your land surveyor will do some research on the government project and your property. Then, the survey team will come out to your property, take measurements, and note existing structures, driveways, utilities, and landscape features such as ponds. Then, the surveyor will go back to the office to draw up plans and write up a legal description of your property. Then, the team may come back out to place magnetic nails or rebar underground along your new property line. Their last step is to notarize the survey once all the work’s done.

Double-Check the Government’s Title Work

The government is responsible for preparing the necessary title documents that will transfer your property to the city, county, or state. Work should not start on your property until the title transfer is complete, otherwise, the work crews will be digging on property you own. As an eminent domain attorney, I monitor and review the government’s title work so it complies with the law and that the government legally owns your property before construction begins.

I often hear from property owners who are shocked that the government has begun a project without the proper legal documentation, including a land survey and title. In these cases, an ounce of prevention and diligence during negotiations could have gone a long way toward avoiding costs and frustration.If the government has approached you with an eminent domain offer, contact an eminent domain attorney. I can help you understand your rights, obtain just compensation for your property, and make sure the government has its legal ducks in a row. Contact Jon Morphew and the Morphew Law Office, PLLC at 612-790-9189 today for a free consultation.

Brynne Turner