2018 Legislative Update
In 2018, Virginia’s legislative body, the General Assembly, showed growing support for property owner rights by passing three bills addressing eminent domain law.
Lost Profits Claims – Va. Code § 25.1-100 & Va. Code § 25.1-230.1
The most significant of these bills is Senate Bill 809. Previously, Virginia Code Section 25.1-100 limited recovery of lost profits to just one year for business owners subject to a total take, and three years for business owners subject to a partial take. Sponsored by Senator Chap Petersen, SB 809 raises this recovery period to three years for both total and partial takes.
SB 809 also helps business owners impacted by a take by altering the start date for calculating lost profits under Virginia Code Section 25.1-230.1. This date is now the later of (1) the date of the take; (2) the date the owner is prevented from using their land; or (3) the date any of the owner’s other property rights are taken.
Another important change created by SB 809 is that any owner or tenant not named in an eminent domain proceeding may intervene in the proceeding to file a lost-profits claim. The Court may separate the lost-profits claim from the landowner’s just compensation claim.
Deadline for Payments to Landowners – Va. Code § 25.1-310
Senate Bill 278 eliminates the possibility that payment from condemning authorities will be dragged out, requiring that payment to landowners be made within thirty days of a settlement or final court order. Condemning authorities previously had no payment deadlines under Virginia law.
Commissioners – Va. Code § 25.1-227.2
Virginia eminent domain law is unique as cases can be heard before a judge, jury, or panel of commissioners. House Bill 1564 modifies the commissioner system by requiring parties to nominate at least eight individuals to serve as commissioners (as opposed to six previously) and the Court will select fifteen to empanel as commissioners (up from eleven). This should help reduce the number of trials that are continued due to an insufficient number of commissioners.
These three bills provide additional protections for business owners, landowners and tenants impacted by eminent domain proceedings. K&C’s Eminent Domain Group is dedicated to the representation of property owners and tenants impacted by condemnation matters across Virginia. If you think your property is the subject of condemnation, contact a K&C Eminent Domain attorney today.