Right of Entry

The fundamentals of eminent domain are that you are given due process when your land is condemned and that you are justly compensated for the loss of your land. But before you are ever given notice of a condemnation, you might see government or state employees on your property. You may receive a right of entry letter in the mail. This is government asking your permission to come onto your property to measure out what they want to take. However, you might not get any notice until you receive the condemnation notice. This might not seem fair, but the North Carolina General Statutes permit this activity.

Here’s an example: you own a 5-acre farm that borders Highway 39 in Franklin County. You have heard that the state is planning to expand Highway 39 from a two-lane into a four-lane highway. But you have not heard anything from the government and have only seen a few news stories. When you are coming in from the fields, you see a surveyor on your property. To you this might be trespassing, but to NCDOT, this is preparation. Such prep work is legal, and you cannot stop it from happening. But if the surveyor managed to damage your crops or a fence when he entered your land, you will be entitled to compensation for that damage.

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