COLLEGE STATION (Real Estate Center) – A new Texas
statute changing the procedure for condemning land takes effect Sept. 1.

Many of the protections stripped from landowners in 2004 will be restored,
said Judon Fambrough, an attorney with the Real Estate Center.

“For example, the initial offer to purchase must be in writing and sent
by certified mail, return receipt requested,” Fambrough said. “A
final written offer must follow no sooner than 30 days later.

“The initial offer must include copies of all relevant appraisals
produced or acquired by the condemnor during the prior ten years. Before making
the final offer, the condemnor must obtain an appraisal, rendered by a
certified appraiser, to assess the value of the property being acquired along
with the damages to the remainder, if any. The final offer must equal or exceed
the amount of this appraisal.”

Fambrough warned that a condemnor failing to comply with the new
rules could face harsh penalties.