What You Need to Know When Someone Needs Your Land
Your Guide to Just Compensation
The Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman has prepared a booklet which helps explain the eminent domain process, and a property owner’s right to compensation. It is available for no charge at the Ombudsman’s Office, or through this link:
Important Information for Property Owners
/IF AN AGENCY HAS CONTACTED YOU ABOUT ACQUIRING
YOUR PROPERTY, PLEASE BE ADVISED OF THE FOLLOWING:
1. You Are Entitled to Receive Just Compensation for Your Property
If private property is acquired for a public use, both the Federal and State Constitutions require that the owner be paid just compensation for the property.
The Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution states in part: “nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.” — U.S. Constitution, Amendment V
The Utah Constitution provides similar protection: “Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation.”– Utah Constitution, Article I, § 22
Just Compensation is based on the fair market value of the property, and may include payment for damages related to the property taking. The amount of compensation depends upon individual circumstances, and each case is evaluated separately.
2. You Are Entitled to Discuss the Matter with The Attorneys at The Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman
The Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman is an independent and neutral office which has been established to help property owners understand their rights, and also to encourage settlement of eminent domain disputes through mediation or arbitration. Property owners have the right to request mediation or arbitration. There is no charge for this service. To request assistance, fill out the Request Mediation or Arbitration form, or contact the Ombudsman’s Office.
How to contact the Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman:
Phone Numbers, Email, and Website–
Phone: (801) 530-6391
Toll Free (outside of Salt Lake County): 1-877-882-4662
Fax: (801) 530-6338
The Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman
State of Utah — Department of Commerce
PO Box 146702
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114-6702
Heber M. Wells Building
160 E. 300 South, 2nd Floor
Salt Lake CIty, Utah
Office Hours: 8 am to 5 pm. Monday through Friday (closed on State Holidays)
3. Oral Representations or Promises Made During Negotiations are Not Binding
During negotiations, representatives of the condemning agency may provide explanations or may make representations or promises that are not binding unless they are in writing. Like any real estate transaction, the final settlement in an eminent domain action must be in writing, and signed by the agency.
Before making any important decisions based on an offer from a condemning agency, a property owner should make sure that all representations and promises are in writing, and signed by a person authorized to act for the condemning agency. The Office of the Property Rights Ombudsman may assist property owners by helping them understand settlement offers.