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See some of Saul Fenchel's eminent domain articles covering various subjects in Eminent Domain Condemnation.

How fast can I get paid?

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A. The Advance Payment

The government is obligated to make an advance payment which is usually made within a few weeks of the vesting of title. Only in rare circumstances will the property owner find the amount acceptable.

B. Can I take the amount and think about getting more?

Upon the taking, the owner of property is entitled to an advance payment equal to one-hundred percent of the condemnor's "highest approved appraisal" of the property.

A PROPERTY OWNER CAN TAKE THE ADVANCE PAYMENT AND STILL MAKE A CLAIM FOR FURTHER DAMAGES. YOU ARE NOT OBLIGATED TO ACCEPT THE GOVERNMENT’S ESTIMATE OF DAMAGE. IN FACT, YOU SHOULD NOT ACCEPT THE ADVANCE PAYMENT AS REPRESENTING THE FULL AMOUNT TO WHICH YOU ARE ENTITLED UNTIL YOU HAVE HAD A FULL OPPORTUNITY TO REVIEW THE MERITS OF YOUR CLAIM.

C. When do I get the Advance Payment?

The advance payment is not discretionary and must be made as soon as practicable after the vesting of title. Since the condemnor will require documentation such as releases and tax clearances to confirm that there are no pre-existing liens, etc., it takes some time before the advance payment will be released. It can often take six months or longer before the advance payment is released.

Interest must be paid on the advance payment from date of vesting to date of payment, but delay in responding to the government’s reasonable request for clearance documentation can result in the withholding of the advance payment and the suspension of interest.

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