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Field Guide to Private Property Rights

(Updated October 2015)

Americans are passionate about their property rights, and disagreements can pit neighbor against neighbor. The issue of eminent domain can arouse the fury of many citizens, who take seriously the last clause of the Fifth Amendment—nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation. The infamous 2005 Kelo v New London Eminent Domain case (the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of New London) generated anger and discussion on both sides of this debate. These articles and links examine property rights, government regulations, eminent domain and much more. (A. Creitz, Information & Web Content Specialist)

Photo by Flickr user mollybob

Q - ProQuest articles available for NAR members only. Password can be found on the ProQuest/Find Articles page.

Property Rights News

Federal judge upholds state law allowing surveys of private property for gas pipeline, (Richmond Times-Dispatch, Oct. 1, 2015).

North Carolina’s disrespect of property rights, (The Charlotte Observer, Oct. 2, 2015).

Get off my beach! How the wealthy are laying claim to California's coast, (The Guardian, Oct. 2, 2015).

Grand Central Station owner wants $1.1B for air rights, (Real Estate Weekly Online, Sept. 30, 2015).

Drones Can Be Used To Enforce Property Rights, (Time, July 31, 2015).

Eminent Domain

In 1998, 15 residents in New London, CT resisted attempts by the Pfizer Company to purchase their homes (Pfizer had built a new plant and wanted the additional land to sell to commercial developers). The city cited eminent domain and the case went to the Supreme Court. On June 23, 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of New London in a 5-4 decision.

District of Columbia seeks eminent domain at stadium site, (Washington Times, Oct. 1, 2015).

City to seize and rebuild Coney Island property through eminent domain, (New York Post, Sept. 28, 2015).

City to use eminent domain on NGA site, (St. Louis Business Journal, Sept. 23, 2015).

Report: California Plans To Take Up To 300 Farms By Eminent Domain For Delta Tunnel Project, (CBS Sacramento, Aug. 17, 2015).

Major California Property Rights Victory for Landowners in Eminent Domain Abuse Fight, (Institute for Justice, Apr. 22, 2011).

Eminent domain challenges the property valuation process, (CCIM, Jan./Feb. 2009).

Eminent domain: A review of the issues, (Journal of Real Estate Literature, 2009). Q

The frontier of eminent domain, Why aren’t Kelo activists also incensed over natural resource development takings?, (Regulation, Summer 2008).

Kelo's consequences, (Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2007).  Q

Kelo v. City of New London, (Harvard Law Review, 2006).

"In every civilized society property rights
 must be carefully safeguarded; ordinarily
 and in the great majority of cases,
human rights and property rights are 
fundamentally and in the long run, identical."  ~ Theodore Roosevelt 

Legal & Legislative Issues

Court: Natural shore is Lake Erie property line, (The News-Herald, Sept. 15, 2011).

Property rights limited in budget bill, (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, June 13, 2011).

The hidden costs of predatory takings, (Realty Times, Feb. 13, 2007).

Playing the takings game: how government regulates away property rights, (The Goldwater Institute, June 13, 2006).

An overview of the U.S. Supreme Court "takings" law, (National Association of REALTORS®—Law and Policy, 1997).

eBooks & Other Resources

Books, Videos, Research Reports & More

The resources below are available for loan through Information Services. Up to three books, tapes, CDs and/or DVDs can be borrowed for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Services at 800-874-6500 for assistance.

Evicted! Property Rights and Eminent Domain, Adobe PDF eBook

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The inclusion of links on this field guide does not imply endorsement by the National Association of REALTORS®. NAR makes no representations about whether the content of any external sites which may be linked in this field guide complies with state or federal laws or regulations or with applicable NAR policies. These links are provided for your convenience only and you rely on them at your own risk.