A legal term referring to the power of the government to take land from private owners for public use. This is one of the four basic government powers of taxation, eminent domain, escheat and police powers. Congress later expanded this power of eminent domain to public utilities. When a property is taken from its private owner, the property is then legally condemned and the owner must be paid fair market rates or fair compensation. The government exercise its eminent domain power through condemnation. For more information, see the "Eminent Domain" article in the "Real Estate In-Depth" section.
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