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What is the purpose of the URA?

The purpose of this part is to promulgate rules to implement the Uniform Relocation Assistance and Real Property Acquisition Policies Act (URA) of 1970, as amended (42 U.S.C. 4601 et seq.) (Uniform Act), in accordance with the following objectives:

  • (a) To ensure that owners of real property to be acquired for Federal and federally-assisted projects are treated fairly and consistently, to encourage and expedite acquisition by agreements with such owners, to minimize litigation and relieve congestion in the courts, and to promote public confidence in Federal and federally-assisted land acquisition programs;
  • (b) To ensure that persons displaced as a direct result of Federal or federally-assisted projects are treated fairly, consistently, and equitably so that such displaced persons will not suffer disproportionate injuries as a result of projects designed for the benefit of the public as a whole; and
  • (c) To ensure that Agencies implement these regulations in a manner that is efficient and cost-effective.

Learn more: URA Regulation

Real Property Acquisition Process

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1.  Appraisal

  • The URA specifies a process to accomplish the standard of paying just compensation as set out in the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The URA requires that a qualified appraiser estimate the fair market value of the property through the appraisal process.

2.  Review Appraisal

  • The appraisal must be reviewed by a qualified review appraiser for consistency and reasonableness, and to ensure it meets all standards.

3.  Just Compensation

  • Agencies must establish the amount of just compensation to offer the property owner, which cannot be less than the approved appraisal. An authorized agency employee must set the amount to be offered.

4.  Written Offer

  • Agencies must make a written offer to the property owner for the just compensation amount. A verbal offer does not meet the URA requirements.

5.  Negotiations

  • After the agency makes the offer, a reasonable period of negotiations should occur where the property owner can review the offer, ask questions, accept or reject the offer, or make a counteroffer.
  • Agencies can pay more than the amount of the established just compensation offer by using an administrative settlement, if it is reasonable, prudent, and in the public interest.

Next Steps:

  • Yes → Closing
    If you are successful in reaching a settlement, you will go to a closing with the property owner and obtain title to the property.

  • No → Condemnation or Walk Away
    If negotiations are unsuccessful, agencies with eminent domain authority may choose to pursue condemnation through the eminent domain process. Agencies without eminent domain authority must walk away.

real property acquisition process

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