Eminent Domain and the Property Surveyor in Guadalupe County, TX

December 28, 2016 2:24 am Published by Leave your thoughts

Texas does not have a right of entry statute to help land boundary surveys. That is why eminent domain is frequently an issue for the property surveyor in Guadalupe County, TX. If a survey must occur and property owners do not allow access, eminent domain is the next logical step. Here is what you need to know about how this issue affects your land surveys.

Usual routine

Right of entry and eminent domain arise in boundary surveys. To get an accurate assessment of boundary lines, surveyors must have access to neighboring land plots. In most states, there is a right of entry statute that grants surveyors unlimited access for this purpose. That assures the safety of surveyors and makes any actions of the landowner to stop the survey actionable under civil law.

However, Texas does not have this same law. Surveyors, or the landowner requesting the survey, must secure permission to entering neighboring land. Failure to do so is trespassing, and surveyors risk facing traps, firearms or other defensive actions. Permission is secured by visiting the neighbor or sending a right to entry letter ahead of accessing the land. Often times, the permission is secured in writing to assure proper procedure and avoid liability.

The issue becomes more complex if permission to enter is not granted. Some people are paranoid and never allow entry, or in instances where there is a border dispute, neighbors deny access because they do not want to risk their claims being disproved. No matter the reason for denying access, the surveyor or landowner requesting the survey must pursue legal action to gain access and complete the survey.

Legal options

Right of entry lawsuits often secure access. This action requests that the court issue an order that instructs the adjoining landowner to allow access or face contempt of court fines. While this is often time-consuming and costly, it normally gains the desired result, unless the request for access or the reason for the survey is unreasonable.

Government entities often employ land surveys if there is a public works project being planned. These surveys help design roads, utilities and other public services. Just like private citizens, government officials must request permission from landowners to access land and conduct the survey. The landowner can refuse the government this access.

When there is refusal in these situations, eminent domain procedures allow the government to take control of the land, provided they compensate the landowner. Eminent domain transfers ownership of the property to the government or agency. It is only employed in the most extreme of cases, when the public service is sorely needed and the only option is to access private land for the survey. Normally, there is negotiation to create a better solution that balances government needs with those of the landowner.

Right of entry and eminent domain can be challenging issues if you need a boundary survey. If you need a property surveyor in Guadalupe County, TX who is familiar with these issues, call Bettersworth & Associates, Inc. We look forward to assisting you.

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