The State of Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights
This Landowner’s Bill of Rights applies to any attempt to condemn your property. The contents of this Bill of Rights are set out by the Texas Legislature in Texas Government Code section 402.031 and chapter 21 of the Texas Property Code. Any entity exercising eminent domain authority must provide a copy of this Bill of Rights to you.
This document is subject to update and revision. Please check the Office of Attorney General of Texas website periodically for the most recent version of the Texas Landowner’s Bill of Rights.
1. You are entitled to receive adequate compensation if your property is condemned.
2. Your property can only be condemned for a public use.
3. Your property can only be condemned by a governmental entity or private entity authorized by law to do so.
4. The entity that wants to acquire your property must notify you that it intends to condemn your property.
5. The entity proposing to acquire your property must provide you with a written appraisal from a certified appraiser detailing the adequate compensation you are owed for your property.
6. If you believe that a registered easement or right-of-way agent acting on behalf of the entity that wants to acquire your property has engaged in misconduct, you may file a written complaint with the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) under section 1101.205 of the Texas Occupations Code. The complaint should be signed and may include any supporting evidence.
7. The condemning entity must make a bona fide offer to buy the property before it files a lawsuit to condemn the property—meaning the condemning entity must make a good faith offer that conforms with chapter 21 of the Texas Property Code.
8. You may hire an appraiser or other professional to determine the value of your property or to assist you in any condemnation proceeding.
9. You may hire an attorney to negotiate with the condemning entity and to represent you in any legal proceedings involving the condemnation.
10.Before your property is condemned, you are entitled to a hearing before a court-appointed panel of three special commissioners. The special commissioners must determine the amount of compensation the condemning entity owes for condemning your property. The commissioners must also determine what compensation, if any, you are entitled to receive for any reduction in value of your remaining property.
11. If you are unsatisfied with the compensation awarded by the special commissioners, or if you question whether the condemnation of your property was proper, you have the right to a trial by a judge or jury. You may also appeal the trial court’s judgment if you are unsatisfied with the result