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LAX to use eminent domain as 'fallback' in neighborhood takeover

The recent decision by the city council to allow Los Angeles World Airports to use eminent domain to help acquire the entirety of the Manchester Square neighborhood will affect residents there in different ways. But ultimately, it will mean the same thing for all of them: they will have to find a new place to live.

The vote is part of a plan to take over the neighborhood and convert it into parking space, a rental car facility and a transportation hub to serve the nearby LAX airport. The city has already bought up most of the property in Manchester Square, but there are 37 properties remaining, according to the Los Angeles Times.

The council called the possibility of using eminent domain a "fallback" option. Obviously, though, knowing that they could be forced to sell at some point will certainly put more pressure on the remaining Manchester Square homeowners to make a deal. In fact, since the vote, 30 of the 37 owners have agreed to sell. The chief commercial officer of LAWA told the council that she hoped the rest would follow suit.

Interestingly, the fact that eminent domain has entered the picture could help the remaining owners a better price. Federal law requires that the government pay fair market price when exercising its eminent domain power. This gives property owners the chance to get an assessment of their lands' value instead of relying on the government's appraisal, according to a lawyer for two of the owners.

Homeowners facing the loss of their home to eminent domain need the assistance of an experienced real estate lawyer to get a fair resolution.

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