Reforming the Process
The eminent domain process needs to be more equitable and fair for Texas landowners. Though some strides have been made in recent legislative sessions on eminent domain reform, the following problems remain within the condemnation process:
Bona Fide Offer – The law requires that a condemnor give a landowner a “bona fide” offer, though there are no requirements of what that offer should specify or include.
Solution: To ensure a landowner’s property rights are protected, a bona fide offer should specify all uses and restrictions for the condemned property. The offer should include terms by which the condemnor will abide throughout the covenant of the property, no matter who owns the property in the future.
Easement Valuations – Currently, a landowner is not allowed to bring in evidence of freely negotiated transactions on comparable easements into the process for assessing damages.
Solution: Evidence of the price paid for privately negotiated transactions should be admissible into condemnation proceedings.
Possession and Use Agreements – At times, landowners have found that condemnors have violated the provisions outlined in possession and use agreements regarding the access and use of their land.
Solution: The provisions outlined within a possession and use agreement need to be enforceable. If those provisions are not honored, a landowner should be allowed to recover damages from a condemner who violates those provisions outlined within that possession and use agreement.
Lack of Bonding– Some condemning entities have claimed bankruptcy, denying landowners payment or just compensation for the taking of their land.
Solution: At the end of a condemnation legal proceeding, either the jury award should be paid or a bond in the amount of a jury award should be obtained from a condemnor to guarantee payment to the prevailing landowner.
For a list of bills supported in 2019, see the right hand column on this page.
To view the priority bills our organization supported during the 87th Texas Legislative Session in 2021, see the Legislation page.
|Bills Supported – 2021 Session
Right-Of-Way Agent Licensing
Recovery of Attorney Fees
Land Remediation and Damages
Purchase of Additional Property