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Section 9: Landowner’s Bill of Rights and Written Initial Offer to Purchase as Required Elements of a Bona Fide Offer (for LPA)

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Landowner’s Bill of Rights

Section 21.0112 of the Texas Property Code requires that a copy of the Texas Attorney General’s Landowner’s Bill of Rights must be provided to a property owner whose property may be acquired by eminent domain: 1) not later than the seventh day before the final offer (or earlier), and 2) before or at the same time that any TxDOT representative or employee represents to the landowner in any manner that TxDOT possesses the power of eminent domain.

In order to minimize the risk of violating the timing requirement of the statute during negotiations, it is strongly recommended that the Landowner’s Bill of Rights be provided to the property owner prior to or at the time the initial offer is made.

The current version of the Landowner's Bill of Rights is available on both the Attorney General's and TxDOT's websites, and any copies prepared for mailing or delivery to property owners should have the exact wording from the Attorney General's website. The revision date is shown at the bottom of the last page of the Landowner’s Bill of Rights.

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Methods of Providing the Landowner’s Bill of Rights

Property Code Section 21.0112(a) provides that “the entity must send by first-class mail or otherwise [such as hand -delivery] provide a landowner’s bill of rights statement...to the last known address of the person in whose name the property is listed on the most recent tax roll of any appropriate taxing unit authorized by law to levy property taxes against the property.” If the current record owner as listed in the title commitment or other advance title information obtained by the LPA is a name and/or address that is different from the name and/or address shown on the tax roll records, a separate (additional) Landowner’s Bill of Rights statement should be provided in the same manner to such record title owner at the record title owner’s address as determined by the LPA.

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Documenting Compliance with the Landowner’s Bill of Rights Statute

Documentation should be maintained to establish when and how the Landowner’s Bill of Rights statement was provided to the property owner. This documentation is very important, as in the event negotiations are not successful and the parcel must be acquired by condemnation, the condemnation petition must allege and the State must be prepared to prove, that it provided the Landowner’s Bill of Rights to the property owner in accordance with the statute, Property Code Section 21.0112.

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Initial Written Offer to Purchase

Follow the same procedure as for the State, except that the offer is signed by an authorized LPA representative. Retain copies of all signed letters in LPA files and promptly forward one copy of the offer letter to TxDOT right of way staff.

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Elements of Required “Bona Fide Offer”

See discussion in above Section, Elements of Required “Bona Fide Offer”.

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