Tennesseans have a strong interest in protecting their property. After all, many who live in the state have chosen to do so for its preservation of nature and tranquility. While most people feel secure in their property rights upon purchasing land, the truth of the matter is that the government can step in at any time and claim that land as its own. This process is known as eminent domain.

Through eminent domain, the government has the power to take private property for public use. Fair compensation must be paid for the taking, which is typically defined by market values. Both of these issues, public use and fair market value, give rise to many legal challenges.

With regard to public use, the government typically must show that the land will be used to benefit the community. This may include the building of roadways and structures to better provide water and electricity, as well as the development of retail business and government buildings.


Fair market value may sound easy to pin down, but in reality, it can be a tricky matter to address. Usually the government will initiate the eminent domain process by negotiating with a land owner in an attempt to reach a fair outcome. However, the value of the land can be in dispute, particularly if the government seeks to take a portion of the property but that taking causes the rest of the property’s value to decrease.

The idea of the government snatching up your property is frightening. Yet, those who are confronted with this issue do not have to sit there and let the government do what it wants. Instead, they can fight back either for fair compensation or to stop the taking altogether. Having the assistance of a legal advocate who is familiar with this area of the law often proves beneficial.