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Orlando Real Estate Law Blog

What constitutes a taking of land through eminent domain?

The Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution ensures that private citizens may not have their land taken from them for public use without just compensation. This provision is often referred to as the "Takings Clause" of the Bill of Rights, and Floridians often rely on it when they believe that the government is attempting to deprive them of their property. While a direct taking of someone's land is a clear example of what the founders may have anticipated when they drafted the Fifth Amendment, changes in land use laws may also constitute takings of private citizens' property.

For example, if a person purchases a parcel of land and intends to use it in a certain way, they may be deprived of their use and enjoyment of that land if their local government changes the zoning for it. A person who cannot use their land as they intended may argue that their land has been taken since it is no longer suitable for the owner's necessary and intended use.

Important terms for the preparation of a commercial lease

Securing the right space for one's business can be a difficult process for a Florida resident. Not only must the space meet the zoning and operational requirements of the business, but it must also be affordable and must be capable of meeting the business's changing needs. Because businesses' successes can be variable, many entities choose to rent space rather than buy to avoid the costs associated with property ownership.

When preparing to sign a commercial lease for a business, a Florida resident should look for some important terms in their agreement. Like residential leases, commercial leases should cover important topics like the cost of rent, when it will be due, how it may be increased, and what security deposit requirements the property owner has for the leasing party. Commercial leases should cover some terms that are not always relevant to residential leases.

What should I look for when I buy my first home?

The decision to purchase a home rather than continuing to rent from others is a very big deal. A Floridian may save their money for years just to have the opportunity to get into the housing market and, when they do, they will want to be sure they are making a good decision about the property they buy. This post offers some general considerations for new home buyers when they begin the home buying process.

The first consideration that a new home buyer should make is to create a realistic expectation of how much money they can spend and what loan they can afford. When individuals cannot maintain their mortgage payments, they may be forced into a short sale or a foreclosure of their property.

Fighting for property owners facing eminent domain actions

It is not unusual for a person to feel the most comfortable in their own home. While taking trips and seeing new places can be fun, many Florida residents take pride in maintaining their own properties and caring for their own residences. A home can be a source of satisfaction for a person who has worked hard to make it into what they want it to be.

Therefore, any threats that a person may face to losing their home may cause them indescribable pain and frustration. While in many cases a person's rights in their property will be protected under the law, certain actions such as those based on eminent domain may threaten the financial, physical, and emotional investments they have made to improve their lands and structures.

How do eminent domain and inverse condemnation differ?

Eminent domain and inverse condemnation can be confusing terms. 

Both have to do with condemnation, a process the government takes to seize private property or limit its use by the landowner. What's important to know is that eminent domain is a right, whereas inverse condemnation is a proceeding.

Zoning and restrictions can limit property owners' rights

It is often said that a person is the king of their own castle, which means that in their home, they are in charge. While this popular phrase is true to some extent, certain laws, restrictions, and ordinances can limit the rights that Florida property owners have to use their properties as they see fit. Restrictions to a property owner's rights can limit their use and enjoyment of their property and threaten its loss.

For example, prior posts on this blog have discussed how zoning can impact the use of a person's home or parcel of land. If their intended use for their property does not conform to the zoning restrictions for it, they may be sanctioned for using their land as they desire. Zoning can be challenged in some cases, and individuals facing zoning issues can discuss their concerns with real estate attorneys.

Company keeps land thanks to recent Florida legislation

Agriculture is big business in Florida and keeping crops hydrated is a struggle for farmers throughout the state. From small private cooperatives to large agricultural entities, many producers have been impacted in recent years by blue-green algal blooms throughout the state. These blooms have had a detrimental impact on Florida producers and have jeopardized the operations of many agricultural businesses.

In an effort to stem the passage of the blooms into important state waterways, state legislation was passed to build a dam south of Lake Okeechobee. U.S. Sugar, an entity operating in the area, had an option contract with the district responsible for the dam's construction that would have allowed the district to acquire some of U.S. Sugar's land for the project.

How can I settle a boundary dispute with my neighbor?

Even when property owners hold massive stretches of land, they will be forced to share boundaries with their neighbors. Property boundaries are the lines that separate parcels from each other and, when questions arise regarding where boundaries are located, Florida neighbors can face serious disputes.

One way to address a boundary dispute is to have the relevant properties surveyed. A property survey will establish the lines of a parcel of land and determine where it ends with regard to other parcels. When a survey establishes property lines, the owners may choose to fence in their land to avoid future conflicts.

What you can do to prepare to sell your home

Moving away from a family home can be an emotional experience for a Florida family, but when job transfers and other life events force moves, individuals should do whatever they can to get the best possible value out of their residence. This can mean starting early to prepare for putting a house on the market in the future.

Some of the steps that homeowners can take to prepare their houses for sale are relatively easy. They can work on reducing clutter and taking down any pictures or personal decorations or pictures of them. Prospective buyers like to imagine themselves in the homes they view, and it can be tough for them to see themselves making memories in a house if they are surrounded by the memories of the current occupants.

Property owners secure compensation for pipeline construction

Ensuring that Florida residents have access to safe and adequate power sources is a constant process of the utility companies that service the state. Over the course of the last decade, multiple power companies have attempted to work together to build a more than 500 mile-long natural gas pipeline through Florida and parts of other surrounding states. The companies engaged in eminent domain proceedings to take land from Florida residents in order to construct their controversial project.

While some Floridians accepted the payouts that the utility companies offered them, others chose to fight the taking of their land in court. Two property owners, a father and son, decided to stand up to the imposition of the pipeline through their properties and won. A Florida jury awarded them more than $1 million in damages for the harm they suffered.

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