A. If a condemnor has acquired a fee simple interest in property by exercise of its power of eminent domain and subsequently declares that the property is surplus, the condemnor shall offer, within 30 days following such determination, to sell such property to the former owner or his heirs or other successors or assigns. If (i) the work or improvements described in any written statement required by law or in the petition for condemnation made pursuant to § 25.1-206 have not been let to contract or construction commenced within a period of 20 years from the date that the fee simple interest in the property vested in the condemnor, and the property is not being used for other public uses that are within the limitations set forth in § 1-219.1 or (ii) at any time the property is no longer used or needed for the public use for which the property was taken as may be described in any written statement required by law or in the petition for condemnation or for another specific public use that is within the limitations set forth in § 1-219.1, the condemnor shall declare its fee simple interest in the property to be surplus and offer to sell the property to the former owner or his heirs or other successors or assigns. Additionally, if the conditions described in clause (i) or (ii) occur, the former property owner or his heirs or other successors or assigns may make a written demand that the condemnor (a) declare its fee simple interest in the property to be surplus and (b) offer to sell the property to the former owner or his heirs or other successors or assigns. Any contractual provision or agreement by the former owner waiving the right to receive an offer to sell from the condemnor is void and unenforceable. The offer to sell shall be made in writing by the condemnor at the price paid by the condemnor to the former owner plus interest at the annual rate of six percent, provided that the condemnor may increase the price by the fair market value of the condemnor’s improvements, determined at the time the offer to sell is made. In no case shall the price established by the condemnor exceed the fair market value of the property at the time the offer to sell is made. The offer to sell shall comply with the requirements of subsection B. If the former owner or his heirs or other successors or assigns do not accept in writing an offer to sell that complies with the requirements of this section within six months after the offer to sell has been made as provided in subsection B, the former owner or his heirs or other successors or assigns shall have no further right to purchase the property pursuant to this section. An offer to sell that satisfies the requirements of this subsection and subsection B shall be deemed a valid offer to sell under this section.
B. The condemnor shall (i) send the offer to sell to the former owner by certified mail, return receipt requested, to (a) the last known address of the former owner and (b) the address of the former owner as it appears in the tax records of the treasurer for the locality in which the property is located and (ii) publish the offer to sell in a newspaper having general circulation in the locality in which the property is located. The offer to sell shall be published once a week for two successive weeks, shall identify the former owner from whom the condemnor acquired the property, shall briefly describe the property and the date title vested in the condemnor, shall state the offer is made pursuant to this section, and shall state that the offer is open to any heirs, successors, or assigns of the former owner, who shall be named in the offer as parties unknown.
C. This section shall apply only to a fee simple interest in real property acquired by a condemnor in the exercise of its power of eminent domain. This section shall not apply to property acquired by the Commissioner of Highways pursuant to Title 33.2. Further, this section shall not apply to property acquired by a locality for transportation projects, including for bond-funded transportation projects or for future transportation improvements, regardless of whether such projects are undertaken in conjunction with the Commonwealth Transportation Board, provided that as to any such acquisitions by a locality the provisions of § 33.2-1005 shall apply mutatis mutandis to the property and any disposition thereof. Also, this section shall not apply to property that is acquired by the owner of a railroad for actual operating purposes if the property is unsuitable for independent development.
2005, c. 2; 2006, c. 246; 2007, cc. 882, 901, 926; 2011, cc. 117, 190.