Section 18-4-14

Procedure for acquiring real property.

Whenever real property is acquired by a state agency in connection with any programs or projects, the acquisition shall be conducted, to the greatest extent practicable, in accordance with the following:

(1) An agency shall make every reasonable effort to acquire, expeditiously, real property by negotiation.

(2) Real property shall be appraised before the initiation of negotiations, and the owner or his or her designated representative shall be given an opportunity to accompany the appraiser during his or her inspection of the property.

(3) Before the initiation of negotiations for real property, the state agency concerned shall establish an amount which it believes to be just compensation for the property and shall make a prompt offer to acquire the property for the full amount established. In no event shall the amount be less than the approved appraisal of the fair market value of the property by the agency. Any decrease or increase in the fair market value of real property prior to the date of valuation caused by the public improvement for which the property is acquired, or by the likelihood that the property would be acquired for improvement, other than that due to physical deterioration within the reasonable control of the owner, will be disregarded in determining the compensation for the property. The agency concerned shall provide the owner of the real property to be acquired with a written statement and summary of the basis for the amount it established as just compensation. Where appropriate, the just compensation for the real property acquired and for damages to remaining real property shall be separately stated.

(4) No owner shall be required to surrender possession of real property before the state agency pays the agreed purchase price, or deposits with the state court in accordance with applicable law, for the benefit of the owner, an amount not less than the approved appraisal of the fair market value of the property by the agency, or the amount of the award of compensation in the condemnation proceeding for such property.

(5) The construction or development of a public improvement shall be scheduled so that, to the greatest extent practicable, no person lawfully occupying real property shall be required to move from a dwelling, if a replacement dwelling will be available, without at least 90 days written notice from the agency concerned of the date by which the move is required.

(6) If the agency permits an owner or tenant to occupy the real property acquired on a rental basis for a short term for a period subject to termination by the state agency on a short notice, the amount of rent required shall not exceed the fair rental value of the property to a short-term occupier.

(7) The agency should either advance the time of condemnation or defer negotiations or condemnation and the deposit of funds in court for the use of the owner, or take any other action coercive in nature, in order to compel an agreement on the price to be paid for the property.

(8) If any interest in real property is to be acquired by exercise of the power of eminent domain, the agency concerned shall institute formal condemnation proceedings. No agency shall intentionally make it necessary for an owner to institute legal proceedings to prove the fact of the taking of his or her real property.

(9) If the acquisition of only part of a property would leave its owner with an uneconomic remnant, the agency concerned shall offer to acquire the entire property.

(Act 99-582, p. 1318, §15.)