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Updated by Barron Adler on Oct 03, 2017
Headline for What’s the Condemnation Process in Texas? A Step-by-Step Look
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What’s the Condemnation Process in Texas? A Step-by-Step Look

This list compiled by Barron Adler will take a step-by-step look at the condemnation process in Texas. Hopefully this guide will help you understand what to expect if you are facing condemnation proceedings.


Condemning Party Makes Offer to Purchase

The condemnation begins with the condemning party making an offer to purchase.
The first step in the condemnation process is for the party seeking to condemn property to make a reasonable, bona fide offer to purchase the property. The party seeking condemnation should also disclose any and all appraisals or any other reports relating to the property that they possess and were created in the last ten years.


Condemning Party Provides Landowner With Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights

Along with the offer to purchase, the condemning party must provide the landowner with a copy of the Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights. This document passed by the Texas Legislature may be found in Texas Government Code Sec. 402.031 and Chapter 21 of the Texas Property Code.


Offer Acceptance or Rejection

The property owner may accept or reject the first offer.


File Property Claim

If the two parties cannot agree on the terms of a sale, then the condemning party may begin the formal condemnation process. This is done by filing a claim on the property in the court located in the county where the property is located. The claim must:

● Sufficiently describe the property
● Explain the intended public use of the property post-condemnation
● State that they made a bona fide offer to purchase the land
● State that they provided the landowner with a copy of the Landowner’s Bill of Rights
● State that the condemning party and the landowner weren’t able to come to a meeting of the minds regarding the monetary value of the property.


Hearing to Determine Fair Offer

After the claim is filed, the court appoints three local landowners to act as “special commissioners” at a hearing. The landowners must all live in the county where the condemnation claim was filed. These local landowners are given the task of determining a fair offer of compensation for the property. The special commissioners may consider the land, any developments upon it, the proposed public use and other factors.


Determination of Value & Award

The special commissioners make a determination on the value of the property and issue an “Award.” If both parties agree to the Award without making a timely objection, then the court will adopt the Award as a final judgement of the court.


Written Appeal

If either party does not agree, then they may file a written appeal of the special commissioner’s Award decision. However, it is important to note that the condemning party may take immediate possession of the property by paying the Award amount, even if the Award decision is under appeal by either party.


Contact a Houston Condemnation Attorney

If at any point the property isn’t sure whether they should accept an offer for compensation in a condemnation matter, they should call Houston condemnation attorneys who are experienced with Texas condemnation cases. An attorney will be able to help a landowner examine appraisals, evaluate offers or Awards, and assist with any part of the legal process. Speaking to an attorney sooner than later gives property owners the best chance of obtaining a good result.