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Buying a coastal property? What sellers should disclose to you

On Behalf of | Nov 29, 2023 | Real Estate Contract Disputes

Florida’s west coast, particularly Tampa, is home to a myriad of coastal properties. Given that the state ranks among the most expensive real estate markets in the nation, it’s important not to rush into purchasing a property here. If you are considering it, there are some things sellers must disclose to you about the property. This allows you to make an informed investment about these properties.

This knowledge is particularly crucial when buying a coastal property in Tampa.

Coastal property disclosures

Florida law mandates that sellers disclose key details about real estate properties, including coastal ones, to potential buyers. This information gives buyers like you a clearer idea of what owning such a property entails.

Here are some of the things sellers should tell you:

  • Possibility of coastal erosion: It is possible that the sea can gradually wear away the land of coastal properties. This process, known as erosion, could reduce the size of your property over time and possibly affect its value.
  • Construction limitations: Coastal properties are often subject to various construction laws. These rules might limit what you can build on the property, how you can build it and when you can build it. For instance, there might be restrictions the state might impose on your property to protect against flood damage or preserve the natural coastline.
  • Environmental regulations: There may also be environmental rules to protect local wildlife, such as marine turtles. For instance, there are limitations to your use of specific lighting during certain times of the year. Doing so prevents disturbing turtle hatchlings or nesting sites.

Not all sellers are untrustworthy, but those who fail to disclose these limitations withhold crucial details you need to understand when owning a coastal property.

Your protection against unfair practices

A seller’s failure to disclose these specifics doesn’t directly provide a legal remedy under certain statutes or affect the contract’s validity or property title. However, if the seller intentionally hides required information, broader real estate or contract laws may permit a buyer to sue for fraudulent misrepresentation. In such situations, it could help to consult a lawyer experienced in dealing with misrepresentation claims for your coastal property investment.