In this blog series, we aim to get back to basics – that is, to explain some foundational concepts about the kind of law we practice here at Hansen, Howell & Wilkie. Today’s key term: condemnation.
In the realm of takings law, “condemnation” refers to the exercise of the power of eminent domain. It is a determination and declaration that a certain property is assigned to public use.
In North Carolina, property is acquired by the government via condemnation upon the filing of a complaint containing a declaration of taking, along with a deposit equal to the condemnor’s estimate for just compensation.
(If the condemnor is a private entity, such as a utility company, then the process is different. Title does not vest until after commissioners are appointed and make a report to the clerk, the clerk renders a final judgment, and the appropriate sum is deposited by the condemnor.)
Generally, property owners can continue to negotiate for more money, even after a condemnation action is filed. If an agreement is not reached, then the case will proceed to mandatory mediation. If the mediation does not result in a settlement, the case will proceed to trial.