EFFECT OF CONDEMNATION
Condemnation is the taking of private property for public purposes. The City of Littleton originally considered condemnation for the purpose of “urban renewal.” Urban Renewal is not as well defined as condemnation and we do not know what the proposed renewal would be. But we do know what condemnation could be. Those of us who have experienced condemnation know that condemnation consists of the following activities:
- The government agency declares blight on the property and declares it shall be used for public purposes. The blight must constitute a hazard to the health, welfare or morals of the community.
- The agency posts notice on the property to indicate it shall be taken at some point for the public purpose.
- Tenants cease paying rents. Business owners experience a decline in business from the posting and notice and public perception of a blighted property which is being condemned.
- The government agency may conduct appraisals, engineering studies, hearings for a period of several years.
- The property owner continues to pay for taxes, insurance, maintenance, repairs and mortgages on the property.
- The property cannot be sold or re-financed since it is blighted and subject to condemnation.
- Most insurers would never insure a property which has been blighted or subject to condemnation if they are aware of that fact.
- The governmental agency eventually offers a “fair value” for the property with no consideration for the repairs, maintenance, lost rents, plans, and specifications for improvements, mortgages or insurance on the property or possible re-zoning of the property.
- The owner is expected to simply accept the offer of “fair value” since the property now has been substantially impaired and the owner is expected to move or find a replacement property without any consideration of the changed market conditions.
- Rents for businesses will have gone up. Property prices for owners for a replacement property will be higher. There is no consideration for these events in the “fair value” calculation.
- Government gets the property at the reduced value after years of study and the owner of the property and owner of the business suffer the consequence of the changes in market conditions and moving without any payment or consideration for same.