Eminent Domain Appropriations

The State of New York, acting through a State agency or entity (hereinafter “State agency”), has the power to acquire private property for a public purpose.  Although municipalities also have the power to acquire property by eminent domain, the Real Property Bureau’s role in this process is to provide advice and legal counsel to State agencies exercising the State’s power of eminent domain.

Once a State agency has determined which property is to be acquired by eminent domain, and has appraised the value of that property, the Real Property Bureau is required, by statute, to review the title for that property.  As a part of this review, a title searcher examines the records affecting that property in the county clerk’s office where the property is located.   An Attorney then reviews the information obtained by the title searcher to identify those parties who have a legal interest in the property affected by the eminent domain acquisition and certifies them as interested parties to the relevant State agency, as required by law.  Representatives from that State agency will then notify and coordinate with the parties so identified to execute closing papers to resolve any title issues identified by the Attorney and to enable payment of just compensation.  When all required closing papers have been executed and returned to our office, an Attorney will review the documents to verify proper execution and then prepare paperwork to request payment by the New York State Office of the Comptroller.

Occasionally, agreements cannot be reached for just compensation.  When these situations develop, property owners, as well as the State, have well-defined rights under the State’s Eminent Domain Procedure Law (EDPL).  It is recommended that parties contacted about an eminent domain taking (condemnees) obtain private legal counsel to represent their interests in court, as their interests will necessarily be different than the State’s interests.

The Real Property Bureau is acutely aware of the hardships to individuals and/or businesses when all or a portion of their property is acquired for a public purpose.  We take our statutory responsibility very seriously and perform our role as defined by the EDPL in a manner that is consistent with the New York State Constitution, which mandates that property owners receive just compensation for property acquired by the State’s power of eminent domain in a fair and expeditious manner.

If you are concerned about an upcoming or ongoing eminent domain acquisition involving your property, you should contact the state agency or governmental body in charge of the project for more information. 

The majority of our Eminent Domain work involves highway projects for the NYS Department of Transportation (DOT).  If you have any questions regarding an appropriation, please use the link below to contact your DOT Regional Office: