The power to take property away from private ownership is one of the four basic governmental powers affecting real estate (taxation, escheat, police and eminent domain). Eminent domain is a right held by the state and federal government to take property from its current owner. Through enabling laws and statutes, the state gives similar powers to the county and municipal government—as well as to quasi-public entities, such as utilities.
This is the power used to build expressways, interstates and major developments. Believe it or not, some states even allow private individuals to take real property from its owner through eminent domain.
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