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Posted by Barron Adler Clough & Oddo, LLP on 10/07/2019

How Texas Eminent Domain Lawyers Can Help When a Condemning Authority Seeks a Land Survey

How Texas Eminent Domain Lawyers Can Help When a Condemning Authority Seeks a Land Survey

It is a common scenario for Texas landowners – being notified by an entity with eminent domain power that it wants to survey their land. Now the landowner knows the government or other entity is interested in their land. What does this mean for the landowner? More immediately, how can the landowner respond to the survey request?

This is where the assistance of skilled eminent domain lawyers becomes vital. While the condemning authority generally has the right to survey land for acquisition, the landowner also has rights. And the landowner should also prepare for the potential of a purchase offer and condemnation action.

Survey Rights of Condemning Authorities

Under Texas law, the government has the authority to take private land for public use after paying reasonable compensation to the owner, a power known as eminent domain or condemnation power. And there are non-government entities with condemnation powers, such as utilities, water districts and pipelines companies. Texas law also provides condemning entities with the power to survey lands they are considering for acquisition.

Does this mean the landowner must grant the condemning authority’s request for a survey? No, the landowner may refuse access.

However, the landowner should know they will generally not be able to prevent the survey from taking place. Nor will they be able to stop the condemnation process simply by denying the survey request. If the entity has legitimate condemnation authority, they may be able to obtain a restraining order preventing the landowner from interfering with the survey.

Landowner Rights When Condemning Authority Seeks a Survey

When a Texas landowner receives a survey request from a condemning authority, they should seek the help of a seasoned Texas condemnation attorney right away. The attorney can confirm whether or not the authority actually has condemnation power and the right to survey.

In addition, the lawyer can ensure the landowner’s rights are protected while the survey takes place. It is often beneficial for landowners to enter into contracts with the condemning authorities that will outline these rights. These contracts are known as Right of Entry Permits.

For Right of Entry Permits negotiated with condemnation authorities, some common terms include the following:

  • Mutually agreeable time for the survey
  • Limiting the allowed entry to survey purposes only and only for the part of the property affected by the project
  • Prohibition on fence cutting, removal or relocation
  • Requiring condemning authority to repair or remediate any damage it causes
  • Condemning authority required to restore land to its original condition

Contact Skilled Texas Eminent Domain Lawyers Today

If you are a Texas landowner who has been notified of a condemning authority’s request for a survey, speak with knowledgeable Texas eminent domain lawyers as soon as possible. Contact us today about your Texas eminent domain issues.

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