DEFINITION of 'Condemnation'

The seizure of a property by a public authority for a public purpose. Condemnation often occurs when a taxpayer owns property or real estate in a place that has been designated for public use or construction. Condemnation is exercised by public authorities through the power of eminent domain.

BREAKING DOWN 'Condemnation'

Condemned property must be appraised by the condemning governmental authority. The owner of the property is then offered the appraised value for the property seized. This offer is called a pro tanto award. The owner can decline the award and hire a lawyer if the owner feels the pro tanto award is insufficient.

Condemnations can be used to make way for private projects as well as public ones, if the public authority believes the project will serve the public good.