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Illinois Eminent Domain Laws

The Illinois Eminent Domain Act can be found in Chapter 735, Civil Procedure Code of Illinois statutes.  Pursuant to 735 ILCS 30/5-5-5, a condemning authority shall exercise the power of eminent domain only if the property is required for a public use.  The condemning authority must prove that (i) the acquisition of the property is necessary for a public purpose and (ii) the acquired property will be owned and controlled by the condemning authority or another governmental entity.

Pursuant to 735 ILCS 30/10-5-5, the condemning authority shall pay just compensation to the owner of the property, which shall be ascertained by the jury.  The condemning authority or the owner may ask for a jury trial to ascertain the just compensation.  If no party in the condemnation action demands a trial by jury, then the trial shall be before the court without a jury.  The jury, at the request of either party, may examine the land sought to be taken, in person and make its report in writing[i].

Pursuant to 735 ILCS 30/10-5-50 in a condemnation action, evidence is admissible as to: (1) any benefit to the landowner that will result from the public improvement for which the eminent domain proceedings were instituted; (2) any unsafe, unsanitary, substandard, or other illegal condition, use, or occupancy of the property, including any violation of any environmental law or regulation; (3) the effect of such condition on income or the fair market value of the property; and (4) the reasonable cost of causing the property to be placed in a legal condition, use, or occupancy, including compliance with environmental laws and regulations.

Pursuant to 735 ILCS 30/10-5-65, when the condemning authority is required by a court to initiate condemnation proceedings for the actual physical taking of real property, the court awarding just compensation shall determine, as part of that judgment or award, further sums as will, in the opinion of the court, reimburse the property owner for the owner’s reasonable, including reasonable attorney fees, appraisal fees, and engineering fees actually incurred by the property owner in those proceedings.

Pursuant to 735 ILCS 30/10-5-70, if the plaintiff is not in possession, the court, upon the report of the jury or upon the court’s ascertainment and finding of the just compensation when there was no jury, may order that the plaintiff shall enter upon the property and use the property upon payment of full compensation as ascertained, within a reasonable time to be fixed by the court.  That order, together with evidence of payment, shall constitute complete justification for the taking of the property.  Thereupon, the court in the same proceeding in which the orders have been made shall have exclusive authority to hear and determine all rights in and to just compensation and shall make findings as to the rights of the parties, which shall be paid by the county treasurer out of the respective awards deposited with him or her.  Appeals may be taken from any findings by the court as to the rights of the parties in and to the compensation paid to the county treasurer as in other civil cases.

If the plaintiff fails to make payment of full compensation within the time named in that order or if the final judgment is that the plaintiff cannot acquire the property by condemnation, the court shall, upon the application of the defendants, enter an order in the action for the payment by the plaintiff of all expenses, and reasonable attorney fees paid or incurred by the defendant, and also for the payment of the taxable costs[ii].

Pursuant to 735 ILCS 30/20-5-5 the plaintiff, at any time after the complaint has been filed and before judgment is entered in the proceeding, may file a written motion requesting that, immediately or at some specified later date, the plaintiff either:

(i) be vested with the fee simple title (or such lesser estate, interest, or easement, as may be required) to the real property, or a specified portion of that property, which is the subject of the proceeding, and be authorized to take possession of and use the property; or

(ii) only be authorized to take possession of and to use the property, if possession and use, without the vesting of title, are sufficient to permit the plaintiff to proceed with the project until the final ascertainment of compensation.

[i] 735 ILCS 30/10-5-45.

[ii] 735 ILCS 30/10-5-70.

Inside Illinois Eminent Domain Laws