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Illinois Eminent Domain Explained

Eminent domain is the power to take any property for public use without the owner’s consent in exchange for the payment of just compensation. The power of eminent domain is inherent in the State of Illinois and exists independent of the Illinois Constitution, or statutory law. However, the Illinois Constitution provides limits on the power of eminent domain. In Illinois, the constitutional restrictions on the power of eminent domain are found in Article I, Section 15 of the Illinois Constitution, which states: “Private property shall not be taken or damaged for public use without just compensation as provided by law. Such compensation shall be determined by a jury as provided by law.” The two limits on the power of eminent domain are the taking must be for a public use and the owner must be paid just compensation. Typically the most highly contested aspect of an eminent domain proceeding is the determination of just compensation for the property owner. The power of the state of Illinois to take or condemn property by eminent domain has been delegated to municipalities, forest preserves, park districts, school districts, railroads, and public utilities.

What is Condemnation in Real Estate?

Sometimes the word “condemnation” is used in connection with the destruction or demolition of an unsafe, dangerous or substandard building. The word “condemnation” in the context of the power of eminent domain refers only to the type of procedure followed to acquire private property against an owner’s will and does not imply anything negative about the private property sought to be acquired by the government. In the eminent domain context, the two words are interchangeable.

Common Types of Condemnations in Illinois

Private property of every kind, whether its real property or personal property, can be acquired by eminent domain. The most common types of takings or condemnations in Illinois involve the acquisition of real estate or real property by the Illinois Department of Transportation (“IDOT”) or the Illinois State Toll Highway Authority (“ISTHA” or “Tollway”) for roadways. In addition, eminent domain or condemnation can be used to acquire any estate in land. For example, IDOT or the Tollway can take fee simple title to real estate or condemn a lesser interest, such as a permanent or temporary easement.

Eminent domain is a specialized area of law. Illinois has precise procedures and legal precedent that must be followed when government and other entities armed with the power of eminent domain seek to take, or condemn, property when the owner does not want to sell.

Experienced Chicago Area Eminent Domain and Condemnation Lawyers

The condemnation lawyers at Ryan & Ryan are experienced in eminent domain and condemnation and understand the complexities and intricacies of Illinois eminent domain law. The lawyers at Ryan & Ryan can navigate the condemnation process and defend your rights in order to guide you towards the best possible outcome. Contact Ryan & Ryan to discuss all of your Chicago area and Illinois eminent domain needs.