Eminent Domain Definition

Eminent domain is a legal term expressing the state’s right to seize private property, expropriate property, or control property rights, without the owner’s consent. The property may be used directly by the government or delegated to a third party who will, presumably, use the property for public or civic purposes. The most common types of property seizures through eminent domain are to establish public utility corridors, build new highway or transportation networks, or to place new railroad spurs. Requirements and possible compensation vary by state. When a government exercises eminent domain it condemns the seized property-this use of the term ‘condemn’ should not be confused with the use inferring the building is structurally or sanitarily unsound. Eminent domain is not limited to real estate, and can be used to seize private property of other types for a variety of causes.