The final offer letters for the Baymark Pipeline and the South Texas NGL Pipeline are going out to landowners. It’s easy to be confused by differences between the initial offer letter and the final offer letter. Landowner Condemnation Rights Attorney Philip Hundl talks about the final offer letter and how it relates to the initial offer in this video. For an appointment with Mr. Hundl, please call 800-929-1725 or click this link for a no-obligation case evaluation.
Summary of the Baymark and South Texas NGL Pipeline Video – Understanding Final Offer Letters
– Hi, I’m Philip Hundl. I’m an attorney with Wadler, Perches, Hundl & Kerlick. My law practice focuses on representing landowners in condemnation cases.
I wanted to give a quick update on two pipeline projects that we’re involved with. We’re involved with representing several landowners on these projects. These are the Baymark Pipeline Project and also the South Texas NGL Pipeline Project.
These projects are two pipelines running parallel. They are Enterprise Pipeline Company lines, so Enterprise Operating, or Products Operating LLC, is the operator of the pipeline.
Final Offer Letters Are Going Out to Landowners
I’m mentioning these because the initial offers have gone out to landowners, and now landowners are receiving the final offer letters. Oftentimes there’s some confusion with the final offer — the way the final offer letter is written. I just want to clarity a few things about the final offer and its relation to the initial offer.
Normally, there’s a number that’s offered in the initial offer, and the final offer may have that same number. For example, let’s say the initial offer was $50,000 and then in the final offer there’s reference to the $50,000, and then there’s reference by Enterprise, that the valuation of the taking is only $10,000. I get a lot of questions asking why the number’s gone down. Perhaps there are two different numbers in the final offer and there’s some confusion.
Different pipeline companies handle the final offer slightly differently, but the final offer has to comply with the Texas Property Code. There are certain statutory requirements for the final offer. The final offer has to include the Landowner Bill of Rights, and also a third party appraiser’s appraisal of the property.
The Appraiser Works for the Pipeline Company
Now, let’s remember, that the appraiser is hired by the pipeline company to do this appraisal work for them. So this is an appraisal done by the pipeline company’s appraiser.
The final offer letter will have that appraiser’s valuation of the part being taken and if there’s any damage to the remainder. In other words, the final offer letters provide what the pipeline company considers to be the valuation giving fair compensation to the landowner. That number always is low — in my experience it’s always very low and it’s lower than the initial offer.
However, in the final offer letter the pipeline company will often times reference that initial offer. This is the part that’s confusing — the final offer will say our third party appraiser says you should only be compensated $10,000, but oh by the way, we’ve offered you already, or at one point we offered you, or maybe we’re still offering you $50,000. So, what they’re trying to do is make this comparison of two. You can draw your own interpretations, but I believe it’s to make their initial offer look more appealing.
So, just want to clarify some of the likely confusion because on these two projects, those final offer letters are going out now.
Understand Your Rights in the Condemnation Process
It’s a step in the condemnation process. Remember the pipeline company sends out the initial offer letter, then final offer letter, and then files a petition for condemnation. They’re sending out those final offer letters because they want to be able to get the clock running, so then they can tee up and file their petition for condemnation.
As I always recommend, number one, to know where you’re at in the process. Then you should ensure that you understand your rights in the condemnation process. It’s very important for landowners to go talk to an attorney who handles condemnation matters for landowners. Ask questions of your attorney, so you can feel comfortable and confident in knowing what’s going on in the process.
Don’t get nervous or impatient, or afraid or scared, and then unfortunately, do something that you’ll regret later. In other words, don’t automatically accept an offer or easement terms that you either don’t understand or you will be unhappy about. So, that’s what I wanted to explain right now about the final offer letter to try to eliminate some of this confusion.
As I mentioned, if you’re a landowner and you’re receiving a final offer letter from Enterprise on the South Texas NGL pipeline, or the Baymark pipeline, or any other line you should review it. Even if it’s a different pipeline company.
Visit with an attorney who can further explain the process and interpret the final offer letter and how it relates to the appraisal, and then also that initial offer that’s also included in the final offer letter.
Once again, it’s important to know and understand the condemnation process and your rights before signing anything. Hopefully, this information helps. I’ll put some additional information on my website about these two lines, the South Texas NGL Pipeline and the Baymark Pipeline. Hopefully, that’s helpful. Good luck.
Let Us Help You through the Condemnation Process
You have rights in the condemnation process, but the right-of-way agent representing the pipeline company is not going to help you understand them. You should talk with an attorney who has experience in condemnation and eminent domain, representing landowners. If you’d like an appointment with Mr. Hundl, please call our office at 800-929-1725. You can also ask for a no-obligation case evaluation by clicking this link and completing the form.