California Government Code Section 7260
The California Relocation Assistance Act, codified as Government Code section 7260 provides for administrative recovery for moving and related expenses incurred by individuals and businesses displaced by public projects. ( 7262; Redevelopment Agency v. Arvey Corp. (1992) 3 Cal.App.4th 1357.)
Section 7262 provides:
"(a) Whenever a program or project to be undertaken by a public entity will result in the displacement of any person, the displaced person is entitled to payment for actual moving and related expenses as the public entity determines to be reasonable and necessary, including expenses for all of the following:
"(1) Actual and reasonable expenses in moving himself or herself, his or her family, business, or farm operation, or his or her, or his or her family's, personal property.
"(2) Actual direct losses of tangible personal property as a result of moving or discontinuing a business or farm operation, but not to exceed an amount equal to the reasonable expenses that would have been required to relocate the property, as determined by the public entity.
"(3) Actual and reasonable expenses in searching for a replacement business or farm, not to exceed one thousand dollars ($ 1,000).
"(4) Actual and reasonable expenses necessary to reestablish a displaced farm, nonprofit organization, or small business at its new site, but not to exceed ten thousand dollars ($ 10,000)."
The California Relocation Assistance Act represents a "legislative recognition of the need to compensate for certain business losses which occur as a result of a condemnation action." (Baldwin Park Redevelopment Agency v. Irving (1984) 156 Cal.App.3d 428, 438.)
However, such compensation is "independent of the condemnation proceedings." (Ibid.)
Accordingly, the process by which a displaced property owner may seek relocation benefits is wholly administrative and "the condemning entity is vested with substantial discretion in making determinations relative to such benefits and is required to engage in a fact-finding process to determine the claimant's eligibility and the appropriate amount of benefits. Any person aggrieved by such a determination 'may have the application reviewed by the public entity.' (Gov. Code, 7266.)" (City of Los Angeles v. Decker (1976) 61 Cal.App.3d 444, 451.)
If a property owner is dissatisfied with the relocation benefits awarded by the condemning entity, he or she may seek judicial review through administrative mandamus, but may not challenge the award in an eminent domain action.
"In his answer to an eminent domain complaint, a displaced property owner may not allege the amount of any benefits claimed to be due him under the relocation assistance law, nor may he prove such benefits at the trial of that action. If he has been denied claimed relocation benefits, by adverse action of the condemning public entity upon its 'review' of his claim by its governing body or other appropriate authority , so that he has exhausted his administrative remedy, his only judicial remedy lies in petitioning the superior court for relief in administrative mandamus ... ." (City of Mountain View v. Superior Court (1975) 54 Cal.App.3d 72, 82.)