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FAQ About Condemnation


At McFarland PLLC, we handle condemnation and eminent domain cases for landowners throughout the State of Texas. Our attorneys are respected authorities in this area of law, and we are always happy to advise landowners. On this page, we will explore some of the most commonly-asked questions about condemnation and eminent domain law in Texas.

What is the difference between eminent domain and condemnation?

Eminent domain is the right of the government, or a private party acting under government authority, to take land for public use. Condemnation refers to the process of taking a landowner’s property. A statutory condemnation case is initiated by the condemning entity. An inverse condemnation case must be filed by the landowner.

Who can take my property?

Under Texas and federal eminent domain laws, public entities such as federal, state, and local agencies have the right to take property for “public use.” Certain private entities also enjoy this power, as long as they are acting under delegated authority. Public projects for which private property may be acquired through eminent domain law include highways and roads, detention, drainage, and flood control, schools, airports, pipelines, electric transmission lines, and public utilities.

Can a lawyer help me keep my land?

The answer, in most cases, is no. Eminent domain laws are powerful, and only in rare situations can landowners stop public entities from taking their property. Where a lawyer can make a difference is in making sure the proper procedure is followed and helping you obtain maximum compensation. A skilled eminent domain attorney knows how to put together a compensation claim that gets you the full and fair value for your land and will fight for every cent to which you are entitled.

How much do you charge?

We are typically paid a percentage of the increased recovery we are able to obtain for clients over and above what is offered by the condemning entity. If we are not able to obtain an increase, we are not owed a fee. Under certain circumstances, we are available on an hourly-fee basis, although this is not typically recommended as it exposes the client to the risk of paying more in attorneys’ fees than the increase achieved since it is impossible to know how much process will be required to get the condemning authority to pay a fair amount of compensation.

How long will the process take?

The length of a condemnation case depends upon a number of factors, including the complexity of the case and the amount in controversy. Cases against governmental entities such as the state typically take longer and can take months, or even years, to resolve. Cases against private companies delegated the power of eminent domain typically run much faster.

Get Answers To Your Specific Questions

Every case is unique. To learn how Texas eminent domain law applies to your specific circumstances, talk with an experienced lawyer. You can reach our law offices online or by telephone at 713-325-9700.