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Property Owners’ Condemnation Bill of Rights

10/12/2010 / Gary Van Cleve

As a Minnesota property owner, you have certain constitutional and statutory rights when a local, county, or state government proposes to take your private property for a public purpose. Here is a list that we call our “property owners’ bill of rights” to inform and remind you of these rights.

  1. You have the right under the Minnesota Constitution to just compensation for private property that has been taken, destroyed or damaged for public use.
  2. You have a right to a written offer from the condemning authority.
  3. You have a right to see the appraisal that was the basis for the written offer.
  4. You have a right to obtain your own appraisal.
  5. You have a right to reimbursement for the cost of your own appraisal, up to $1,500 for residential property and up to $5,000 for non residential property.
  6. You have a right to a commissioners’ hearing before three court appointed condemnation commissioners who are authorized by law to decide what you are entitled to receive as just compensation.
  7. You have a right to reject the commissioners’ award and to ask for a jury trial in state district court if you feel that the commissioners did not award you just compensation.
  8. You have a right to recover your attorneys’ fees if the ultimate just compensation that you are awarded is more than 40 percent greater than the last written offer you received from the condemning authority.

We strongly recommend that if you receive notice that your property is proposed to be taken from you by a governmental authority for a public project, seek legal representation. Gary Van Cleve, Rob Stefonowicz and Michael Mergens are all members of the Minnesota Eminent Domain Institute, which signifies their expertise in condemnation matters. We will be happy to counsel you and provide representation in the event that you are faced with what can be a very difficult situation.