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When buying a home in Florida, you should know that the state has specific real estate laws regarding landlords, tenants, and property ownership as a whole. So, before you purchase or invest in any real estate in the Sunshine State, it is crucial to understand them first. This way, you can protect your investment and maximize the potential returns.

We know that property laws in Florida, and in any other state in the US, can be complex and hard to navigate. To simplify things for you, we put together this guide.

Here, we will cover the basics of property ownership, the main categories for real estate laws, and everything in between. So, let us get started!

The Basics of Property Ownership in Florida

In the Florida real estate market, understanding the fundamentals of property ownership is essential for both first-time buyers and seasoned investors. Here are three routes that you can take.

Sole Ownership

This is the most straightforward form of property ownership, where an individual holds full rights and control over the property. As a sole owner, you have the authority to sell, lease, or transfer the property. However, it is important to note that if you pass away without a will, the home will be subject to Florida property laws pertaining to intestate succession.

Joint Tenancy

This form of property ownership is where two or more individuals share equal rights and responsibilities. In Florida, joint tenancy includes the right of survivorship, meaning that if one owner passes away, their share automatically transfers to the surviving owner.

Tenancy in Common

For this type of ownership, two or more individuals hold undivided interests in a property. Unlike joint tenancy, there is no right of survivorship in tenancy in common. Each owner has the freedom to sell or transfer their share without the consent of the other owners.

It is important to consult with a real estate attorney or legal professional when considering the best form of ownership for your property in Florida. They can provide guidance based on your specific situation and ensure that your rights and interests are protected.

By familiarizing yourself with these concepts, you can make informed decisions and navigate the real estate laws in Florida with confidence.

5 Primary Categories for Real Estate Laws in Florida

Generally property laws in Florida are classified into five primary categories that govern various aspects of real estate transactions and ownership. Let us pore over each of them in detail.

1. Homestead Laws

Homestead laws provide crucial protection and benefits for homeowners in the state, aiming to shield your primary residence from various legal claims and ensure that you can enjoy certain tax advantages.

Florida Homestead Exemption

This is a well-known provision that reduces the assessed value of a home by $50,000 for property tax purposes, thereby providing significant savings for homeowners.

Save Our Homes Cap

This law mandates an assessment limitation to restrict annual increases in property tax for qualified homeowners. It ensures that the value of homestead property cannot increase by more than 3% per year or the rate of inflation if it is lower than this number.

Property Owner Bill of Rights

Enacted in 2019, this legislation strengthens your rights as a property owner when dealing with government entities regarding permitting, code enforcement, and other regulatory matters. The bill sets clear guidelines for communication, transparency, and due process to protect you from unfair treatment or abuse of power by government agencies.

This law protects your rights to reasonable accommodation, timely and fair hearings, and the opportunity to correct code violations before facing penalties. It provides a valuable framework for you to assert your rights and seek recourse when your interests are at stake.

Another notable aspect of Florida’s homestead laws is the protection it offers against creditors as well. According to Article X, Section 4 of the Florida Constitution, homestead properties are exempt from levy and execution by most judgment creditors. This safeguard ensures that you cannot lose your primary residence due to reasons that are not allowed by the law.

All in all, these laws collectively create a favorable environment for homeownership and contribute to the stability and well-being of Florida’s real estate market.

2. Adverse Possession Laws

In some situations, individuals may acquire ownership of a property through a legal concept known as adverse possession. Adverse possession laws vary from state to state, and in Florida, these laws are outlined in Florida Statute Section 95.18.

To establish a claim of adverse possession in Florida, several conditions must be met. First, the claimant must have a full and complete legal description of the property in question. Additionally, they must provide a notarized attestation clause stating that their possession is adverse to the true owner’s rights.

Furthermore, the state requires the adverse possessor to occupy the property openly, continuously, and exclusively for a minimum of seven years. Also, the claim must be hostile, which means that it is against the real owner’s rights and done without permission. The claimant must also demonstrate actual possession, meaning they physically use and improve the property.

It is important to note that adverse possession can only occur when the true owner neglects their property, while another person publicly moves in and makes improvements. This legal concept allows for the transfer of ownership if certain criteria are met.

3. Lease and Rental Laws

There are Florida property rights that are designed to protect both landlords and tenants in the state. Understanding these laws is crucial for ensuring a fair and harmonious relationship between the two parties involved.

Landlord Rights

  • Rent Collection: As a landlord, you have the right to collect rent from tenants on time. If a tenant fails to pay rent, you are allowed to take legal action, including eviction.
  • Property Maintenance: You are responsible for maintaining your rental property in a habitable condition. This includes ensuring that plumbing, heating, and electrical systems are in working order.
  • Lease Agreements: Before you accept tenants, you are required to create lease agreements that outline the terms and conditions of the rental arrangement. Written contracts are recommended for clarity and documentation.
  • Security Deposits: You can collect security deposits from your new tenants as a form of protection against damages or unpaid rent. However, there are strict regulations regarding the handling and return of security deposits.

Tenant Rights

  • Fit Dwelling: Tenants have the right to a rental property that is fit for habitation. This means that your property should have functioning utilities, including plumbing, hot water, and heating.
  • Privacy: Tenants also have the right to privacy and peaceful enjoyment of their rented premises. Though you own the property, you cannot enter the rental unit without proper notice or permission from the tenants, except in emergency situations.
  • Written Notices: Tenants must receive written notices regarding any change or termination of the rental agreement. This ensures transparency and allows tenants to plan accordingly.
  • Non-Discrimination: Tenants have the right to be free from discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, or disability.

It is important for both you and your tenants to understand your rights and responsibilities under the property ownership laws Florida has today. By doing so, you can avoid disputes and maintain a mutually beneficial relationship.

4. Statute of Limitations Laws

The statute of limitations laws in Florida establish time limits for filing legal claims related to property matters, and these regulations vary depending on the type of claim involved.

For example, for real property actions, the limitation to recover possession or title to real property is 20 years. As for contract actions relating to breach of contract in real estate transactions, it is five years.

For fraud actions, they must be brought within four years from the date of discovery or when the fraud should have been discovered with reasonable diligence. Lastly, claims for construction defects in real estate have a statute of limitations of 10 years from the date of completion of the improvement or the date of occupancy, whichever occurs first.

Take note that these statutes of limitations can vary depending on the specific circumstances and facts of each case. Therefore, it is advisable to seek legal advice from a qualified attorney to understand the applicable time limits and protect your rights as a property owner in Florida.

5. Land Use and Zoning Regulations

Of course, there are also land laws in Florida that home buyers and investors should be aware of. Land use and zoning regulations play a crucial role in determining how properties can be utilized and developed within the state. These regulations aim to maintain a balance between private property rights and the overall welfare of the community.

In Florida, land use regulations define the permissible activities for specific areas of land, such as residential, commercial, agricultural, or industrial zones. Zoning ordinances establish the rules and standards that property owners must adhere to when developing or modifying their land. These regulations may include restrictions on building height, setbacks, lot sizes, and even architectural styles.

For home buyers, understanding land use and zoning regulations is essential to ensure that their intended use of the property aligns with the applicable regulations. For example, if you intend to open a business in a residential area, they must verify if the zoning permits commercial activities.

Florida Real Estate Laws for Foreign Investors

 

people investing Florida real estate

Florida has recently implemented new laws regarding real estate investments by foreign investors. These laws aim to regulate and monitor such activities in the state.

One of these decrees is Senate Bill 264, which has been signed into law by Governor Ron DeSantis. Under it, certain restrictions are placed on foreign investors. It prohibits individuals or entities from certain foreign countries of concern from owning or acquiring agricultural land in Florida. The law aims to protect agricultural resources and ensure that they are not acquired solely for investment purposes.

Additionally, the law introduces measures to prevent foreign investors from using real estate purchases as a means to gain visas automatically. While it does not prevent foreign nationals from buying real estate in the country, the new regulations clarify that owning property in Florida does not guarantee visa eligibility.

These laws reflect the state’s commitment to balancing foreign investment opportunities with protecting local resources and maintaining the integrity of Florida’s real estate market. If you are a foreign investor looking to enter the market, you should stay informed about any updates or changes to these laws to navigate the investment landscape effectively.

Invest in Florida Homes with Confidence Now!

Understanding the property laws in Florida is crucial for investors and homebuyers looking to protect their investments. With the recent updates and regulations, it is essential to stay informed and work with professionals who understand the intricacies of the market.

So, do not let the legalities and complexities of these regulations deter you from investing in this beautiful place. Take action today and reach out to us here at Ardor Homes Florida to start your investment journey with confidence.

Together, we can find the perfect property and make your mark in the thriving Florida real estate market!

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