NAR Property Rights Wins at Supreme Court

Issue Date: April 19, 2024

In the span of just a few days, NAR and property owners won two decisive victories at the Supreme Court in support of property rights. On Friday, April 12, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously (9-0) in support of property owners in Sheetz v. El Dorado County, and on Tuesday, April 16, they once again ruled unanimously in favor or property rights in DeVillier v. Texas. NAR submitted amicus briefs in support of upholding property rights for both cases.

In Sheetz, the plaintiff sued the state of California arguing that a traffic impact mitigation fee being imposed by the state before he could build a home on his own property was a “taking” under the Constitution’s Fifth Amendment “takings clause,” which requires the government to pay just compensation when acquiring property from private owners for public use. The property owner argued that a “takings” test (Nollan/Dolan), previously established by Supreme Court cases which applied to fees imposed on an individual basis, was relevant in this case—while the state argued that because the fees came from legislation, it did not. The court agreed with the plaintiff, holding that the test to determine if a takings has occurred can be applied to fees authorized by legislation as well.  

In Devillier, the case revolved around private properties that were flooded when Texas took actions to use portions of a nearby highway as a flood evacuation route, installing a barrier along the way to act as a dam. The result was flooding of private property on the other side of the erected barrier, causing significant damage. The plaintiff argued that by building the barrier and using his property to store stormwater, the state had effected a taking on his property and owed him just compensation. The court held that the plaintiff was able to pursue a takings clause case through a cause of action under Texas state law.

NAR’s work to support property rights in both these cases demonstrates its commitment to advocating for private property rights not just in the legislative and regulatory sphere, but also in the judicial system, up to the highest court in the land. They establish important precedents that will be used in future legal arguments to protect private property rights in this country.

Read about NAR's amicus briefs on the cases.



Russell Riggs,, 202-383-1259