Troubling and disruptive boundary disputes can be avoided or resolved by having a thorough land survey conducted before purchasing a property in Florida. A professional land surveyor can use GPS tracking to accurately identify a property’s boundary lines and determine any issues that buyers should be aware of. It’s also important to get a survey for vacant land a buyer wishes to develop.
As reported in a local blog, a Florida married couple purchased a vacant parcel of land located within a large subdivision tract to build their dream home. Before the closing, they purchased a survey of the property’s boundaries, which stated that the land extended to and touched the Boca Ciega Bay waterway. At the closing, they received a title policy to the property and a warranty deed that was recorded in Pinellas County. Four months later, they applied for and received a construction loan to build a custom house on their vacant land.
After working with their architect for 11 months to design their waterfront dream home, it was discovered that the city required their home to be constructed 25 feet back from the property line. The city also determined the property line to be 25 feet from the pre-filled land instead of the waterway’s edge.
The couple attempted but failed to gain a variance with the city so that the house could be built closer to the water’s edge. City records showed the couple’s property did not actually extend up to the edge of the waterway. The couple then applied for possession and title of the land extending to the waterway.
The land extending to the waterway was deeded and recorded in 1937 to a liquidation company. It was then deeded and recorded again in 1939 to another company, but with new legal boundaries. With the newer property boundaries recorded on the 1939 deed, however, that company would not have been able to enter their property without trespassing on the couple’s land.
The plaintiffs brought an action to have the court state that they were the legal owners of the land up to the water’s edge, and that the 1939 purchaser had no rights or interest in it. The complaint sought a reformation of the deed to be recognized legally from the survey they had conducted before purchasing the land. The 1939 purchaser did not respond to the summons, and the couple won their case by a default judgment.
Buying property and building a home along one of Florida’s beautiful waterways can be a cumbersome process, but nobody should be forced to resort to a lengthy court battle to verify property boundaries after having a land survey completed. Frank Miranda Attorneys at Law offers experienced real estate representation. To help prevent boundary issues, call us at 813-254-2637 or contact us online.