Question: The state informed me that it needs my property for a highway project. Do I have to accept the original offer? What rights do I have?
Answer: No, you do not have to accept the state's original offer. The state, or any other governmental entity, when condemning private property for a public purpose in obligated to pay "just compensation" to the property owner consisting of fair market value for the acquired property plus damages to any remaining property.
You are entitled to, and should, consult with attorneys, appraisers and/or brokers for assistance in determining a fair price for your property. Your consultants may not agree with the state's offer. A property owner in Washington may be entitled to recover attorney and appraisal fees from the government in addition to compensation for the property.
Consult with an attorney who has significant condemnation experience before accepting any offers or signing any documents.As originally printed in the Journal of Business - Spokane, in June 2011. Ted Stiles
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