What is Requisitioned Property

Requisitioned property is property that is involuntarily seized by a governmental authority for any reason. Requisitioned property can be taken for a number of reasons relating to the furtherance of the public good. It can be of any type, including real estate, vehicles, machinery, office equipment or even personal property.

BREAKING DOWN Requisitioned Property

Requisitioned property can be treated as an involuntary conversion. Property sold under the threat of requisition can also be treated as a conversion if the threat is believed to be genuine and imminent. However, the threat of requisition must be confirmed by an actual government official and cannot be derived solely from a public announcement. In most cases, the requisition will be presented as a formal written demand.

Eminent Domain

In the United States, property is typically requisitioned under the legal doctrine of eminent domain, which refers to the power of the state or federal government to seize private property for public use. Most often, property is requisitioned through eminent domain to facilitate the building or improvement of roads, public utilities, and government facilities or buildings. The government may also requisition property in order to transfer it to a third party, such as a land developer which can develop the property to increase tax revenues for the government in question.

In the United States, the government must provide the original owner of requisitioned property with just compensation for said property, as required by the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution. This compensation may not reflect full market value. When only a portion of the property is requisitioned, such as in the case of the requisition of part of a property to widen a road, just compensation is generally calculated using the fair market value of the property, plus severance damages reflecting the decrease in value of the original property now that it is smaller. However, if the partial requisition increases the value of the remaining property, that increase in value will be deducted from the just compensation the owner receives.

If the original owner of the property refuses the just compensation offered, the government will still requisition the property, but will give the original owner 75 percent of the value of the just compensation offered, leaving the owner with the right to sue the government for the rest of the property’s value. The requisition of private property via eminent domain is generally done through the courts.

Requisition of Property through Acts of Congress

Property can also be requisitioned via act of Congress transferring ownership of the specified property directly to the government, as is generally done during wartime. For example, in October 1941, an Act of Congress authorized the President to requisition property for the defense of the nation.