(A) – Pre-Vesting Offer
The government is obligated under the applicable statutes to make a good faith effort to negotiate prior to the vesting of title. EDPL Art. 3. Only in rare circumstances will the property owner find the offer acceptable. In most cases, the government must therefore acquire title by condemnation procedure. Even with an acceptable offer, a government will often condemn the property rather than buy it because title acquired by condemnation is the purest title — clearing any possible encumbrances.

(B) – Advance Payment/Amount
Upon the taking or shortly before, the owner of property is entitled to an advance payment equal to one-hundred percent of the condemnor’s “highest approved appraisal” of the property. All mortgages, judgments, liens and encumbrances must first be satisfied from this payment, with the balance, if any, payable to the property owner. EDPL §303.

A property owner can take the advance payment and still make a claim for further damages.

(C) – Time
The advance payment is not discretionary and should be made immediately upon or immediately before vesting of title. However, as a practical matter, payment generally takes a number of months. Since the taking authority requires extensive documentation and tax clearances to confirm that there are no pre-existing liens, etc., it can often take six months or longer before the advance payment is released. See EDPL §403. Note that interest must be paid on the advance payment from date of vesting to date of payment, but keep in mind that failure to properly prosecute the claim could result in suspension of interest.

Posted in: Condemnation