Legal-Ease: Money when government takes property

Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney with Schroeder Law LLC in Ottawa. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at or at (419) 523-5523. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.

According to the United States Constitution, the government can’t take private property for public use without paying for it. This is called the “Takings Clause,” and is a very confusing part of the law.

In Ohio, there is a state law similar to the Takings Clause. It outlines the different situations in which the state government can take over private property, such as eminent domain. This law becomes murky too, however, when damage occurs to the property. While it may seem like the government should pay for the damage, often times it is not obligated to by law.

The United States Constitution provides that private property cannot be used for a public purpose without compensation. This is frequently called the “Takings Clause.” However, the Takings Clause is very narrowly construed. A landowner must essentially be totally evicted from that property (or be deprived of ownership) in order to be entitled to compensation under the Takings Clause.

Ohio’s Constitution includes a provision similar to the Takings Clause. The Ohio Constitutional “takings” provision is interpreted almost identically to the accepted interpretation of the Takings Clause. This means that damage to property (such as decreases in the property’s value) caused by the government is generally not compensable in Ohio. In other words, unless the government deprives you of ownership or exclusive possession of your property, you are generally not entitled to compensation from the government per the terms of the Ohio or United States Constitution.

Read Lee’s full article on eminent domain in the Lima News here: Legal-Ease: Money when government takes property

Source:, Legal-Ease: Money when government takes property by Lee R. Schroeder, August 30, 2014

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