Maryland Eminent Domain Laws
Maryland Eminent Domain Laws can be found in Title 12 of Code of Maryland. Subtitle one of title twelve contain the general provisions and subtitle two contains provisions regarding relocation and assistance. All proceedings for the acquisition of private property for public use by condemnation are governed by the provisions of title 12[i].
Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-101 provides that the state, any of its instrumentalities, or political subdivisions acting under statute or ordinance passed pursuant to Article III of the Maryland Constitution, may take private property for public use immediately on making the required payment and giving any required security.
A property is deemed to be taken if the plaintiff lawfully is authorized to take the property before trial pursuant to Article III of the Constitution of the State and the required payment has been made to the defendant or into court and the plaintiff has taken possession of the property and actually and lawfully appropriated it to the public purposes of the plaintiff[ii].
The damages to be awarded for the taking of land are its fair market value[iii]. When part of land is taken, the damages to be awarded is the fair market value of the part taken, but not less than the actual value of the part taken plus any severance or resulting damages to the remaining land by reason of the taking and of future use by the plaintiff of the part taken[iv].
For the purpose of determining the extent of the taking and the valuation of the tenant’s interest in a condemnation proceeding, improvement or installation done by the tenant is deemed personal property of the tenant and it is excluded from the taking[v].
The state or any of its instrumentalities or political subdivisions should file an action to acquire private property for public use by condemnation within four years of the date of the specific administrative or legislative authorization to acquire the property[vi].
However, if an action for condemnation is not filed within four years, the state, any of its instrumentalities, or political subdivisions may not proceed with condemnation until it first obtains a new authorization to acquire the property.
The plaintiff should pay all the costs in the trial court and also interest at the rate of six percent per annum on any difference between the amount of money initially paid into court for the use of the defendant and the jury award[vii].
On taking possession, acquiring the right to take possession or the actual transfer of title to the plaintiff, whichever occurs first, the plaintiff immediately should file, with the supervisor of assessments for the county involved, a written notification or a record setting forth in sufficient detail the area of the land and a description of any improvement being acquired[viii].
Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-107 provides that any party to a condemnation case may appeal from a final judgment or determination. Further, if the plaintiff desires possession pending appeal, it may make payment of the award. In addition, the plaintiff should file with the clerk of the court a bond to the state for the penalty the court prescribes.
Pursuant to Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-109, a plaintiff may abandon a proceeding for condemnation by filing a written election to abandon. Also, a copy of the election should be served on each defendant who has been personally subjected to the jurisdiction of the court.
Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-110 provides that if the condemnee or his/her predecessor in title has paid taxes, the condemnee is entitled to receive from the condemnor, in addition to the damages awarded for the premises taken, an amount of money which bears the same ratio to the entire amount of taxes on the premises taken as the part of the taxable year remaining on the date of taking bears to the entire taxable year.
In addition to payment otherwise authorized, a displacing agency should make an additional payment to any displaced person who is displaced from a dwelling actually owned and occupied by the displaced person for not less than 180 days prior to the initiation of negotiations for the acquisition of the real property[ix].
Further, whenever a program or project undertaken by a displacing agency will result in the displacement of any person, the displacing agency should make a payment to the displaced person[x]. The payment should include:
- actual reasonable expenses in moving,
- actual direct loss of tangible personal property as a result of moving,
- actual reasonable expenses in searching for a replacement business or farm, and
- actual reasonable expenses necessary to reestablish a displaced farm, nonprofit organization, or small business at its new site as determined by the displacing agency.
Pursuant to Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-208, if a displacing agency acquires any interest in real property, the displacing agency should acquire at least an equal interest in all buildings, structures, or other improvements, located on the real property acquired.
[i] Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-101.
[ii] Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-102.
[iii] Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-104 (a).
[iv] Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-104 (b).
[v] Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-104 (c).
[vi] Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-105.1.
[vii] Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-106.
[viii] Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-106 (d).
[ix] Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-202.
[x] Md. REAL PROPERTY Code Ann. § 12-205.