Eminent Domain

Eminent domain is the government’s constitutional authority to take private property. Condemnation is the process by which the government exercises eminent domain. This authority or power, however, is not absolute. First, the government can only take private property for a public use. Second, if the government takes a private property it must pay the owner just compensation.

Consulting an eminent domain attorney is essential. An eminent domain attorney will explore whether the property owner should challenge the taking or obtain greater compensation through the condemnation process.

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Property Tax Appeals

Property tax is determined by two factors, valuation and classification. Property valuation and classification are determined by the county assessor’s office, which assesses every property in the county on an annual basis.Every February, property owners receive notice from the assessor of their property’s value and classification. Assuming they go unchallenged, these figures determine property owners’ tax liability, regardless of their accuracy.

To successfully appeal, property owners must have convincing evidence showing the true value and classification of their property. An attorney can help owners assess the value of their property, develop a successful strategy for appeal, and comply with statutory requirements.

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Inverse Condemnation

In a typical condemnation, the government openly exercises its eminent domain power by taking private property, and then compensates the property owner. However, sometimes the government takes private property, or otherwise interferes with property rights, without adhering to the proper constitutional framework. When this occurs, property owners have a right to an inverse condemnation action.

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Land Use Litigation

Land use law covers a wide range of complex legal issues, each of which are particularly relevant to property owners, developers, and investors. Land use litigation involves issues ranging from rezoning to interpretation of existing regulations; and, successful outcomes depend heavily on the land use attorney’s experience and understanding of the relevant legal and political issues. Property value is determined by how that property can be used, so land use issues are central to a great number of real estate transactions and business decisions. Given the complexity of zoning regulations, an attorney can help individuals in nearly every transaction that hinges on a particular use of land.

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Valuation lies at the center of condemnation law. Property owners are compensated based on the property’s fair market value, and diminution to that value. The government is always the opposing party in a condemnation or inverse condemnation action. Property owners are wise to consult with an attorney before accepting the government’s appraisal as the basis for calculating just compensation. An attorney can protect their Arizona property rights and ensure they are justly compensated.

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