Code Section

* California Constitution - CONS

  ( Article 1 adopted 1879. )

SEC. 19.  

(a) Private property may be taken or damaged for a public use and only when just compensation, ascertained by a jury unless waived, has first been paid to, or into court for, the owner. The Legislature may provide for possession by the condemnor following commencement of eminent domain proceedings upon deposit in court and prompt release to the owner of money determined by the court to be the probable amount of just compensation.

(b) The State and local governments are prohibited from acquiring by eminent domain an owner-occupied residence for the purpose of conveying it to a private person.

(c) Subdivision (b) of this section does not apply when State or local government exercises the power of eminent domain for the purpose of protecting public health and safety; preventing serious, repeated criminal activity; responding to an emergency; or remedying environmental contamination that poses a threat to public health and safety.

(d) Subdivision (b) of this section does not apply when State or local government exercises the power of eminent domain for the purpose of acquiring private property for a public work or improvement.

(e) For the purpose of this section:

1. “Conveyance” means a transfer of real property whether by sale, lease, gift, franchise, or otherwise.

2. “Local government” means any city, including a charter city, county, city and county, school district, special district, authority, regional entity, redevelopment agency, or any other political subdivision within the State.

3. “Owner-occupied residence” means real property that is improved with a single-family residence such as a detached home, condominium, or townhouse and that is the owner or owners’ principal place of residence for at least one year prior to the State or local government’s initial written offer to purchase the property. Owner-occupied residence also includes a residential dwelling unit attached to or detached from such a single-family residence which provides complete independent living facilities for one or more persons.

4. “Person” means any individual or association, or any business entity, including, but not limited to, a partnership, corporation, or limited liability company.

5. “Public work or improvement” means facilities or infrastructure for the delivery of public services such as education, police, fire protection, parks, recreation, emergency medical, public health, libraries, flood protection, streets or highways, public transit, railroad, airports and seaports; utility, common carrier or other similar projects such as energy-related, communication-related, water-related and wastewater-related facilities or infrastructure; projects identified by a State or local government for recovery from natural disasters; and private uses incidental to, or necessary for, the public work or improvement.

6. “State” means the State of California and any of its agencies or departments.

(Sec. 19 amended June 3, 2008, by Prop. 99. Initiative measure.)