Let’s take these in reverse order.
Do you own real estate?
If the answer is “Yes,” then you should care because you, as a property owner, hold a number of property rights, known as a “bundle of sticks.” If the government, or a private entity with the power of condemnation, infringes on one or more of your property rights, then you may have a claim for inverse condemnation, if certain other factors are met.
What is “inverse condemnation?”
In straight-forward terms, it’s a property owner’s claim when the government (or a private entity with the power of condemnation) takes private property without the filing of a condemnation lawsuit. This may occur when a governmental action (or action by a private entity with the power of condemnation) results in the government (or the private entity) controlling private property or a portion of private property, causing the property owner to suffer a loss of use and enjoyment of his or her private property rights. If the government or private entity action amounts to a taking of the affected property, the property owner may be entitled to full compensation for the loss.
An opinion from Florida’s Third District Court of Appeal explains the theory of inverse condemnation in more detail and the property owner should study the opinion closely, as there are many intricacies in the law of inverse condemnation.
To be forewarned is to be forearmed, so know your property rights!
Photo courtesy of Kaz Vorpal under Flickr Creative Commons License