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Protecting the rights of real property owners

Florida owners who are unfairly burdened by a government action may be eligible for financial or other forms of relief. This is true whether the law has infringed on the right of a property owner to carry out a vested right or an existing use of the property.

Existing use of a property is defined as any present use of the property or any reasonably foreseen use of the property in the future. A vested right is determined by applying equitable estoppel or by applying substantive due process under common law or statutory law. An inordinate burden is described as any action taken by a government entity that would cause a property owner to fail to realize an expected gain resulting from an investment in the property. It may also be described as any burden that ultimately falls on the property owner that should be undertaken by the public because it is for the public good.

Courts will look at the facts surrounding the case to determine if a property owner is able to obtain relief under the relevant act. During a 90-day or 150-day notice period, the government may make a written offer to provide relief to the owner of real property. Relief may include offering to buy the land or placing conditions on where the government may develop the land.

Property owners who may be impacted by government actions may wish to consult with a real estate attorney. This may make it possible to resolve real estate disputes by providing financial or other relief for the property owner. In some cases, it may be possible to come to an agreement outside of court.

Source: The 2014 Florida Statutes, "70.001 Private property rights protection", November 16, 2014

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