Real estate laws can be complex and are different in each state. There are several real estate statutes in Florida that are unique and may be confusing without explanation.
Florida has some of the most generous real estate laws when it comes to homeowners and squatters.
There are homestead laws around the nation that protect individuals from losing their homes. But Florida has no limit to how much of the property homeowners can protect. Under Florida law, homeowners can shield the total value of a home from creditors even in the event of bankruptcy. However, the acreage limits are 160 acres for rural properties and ½ acre for urban properties.
Even with these protections, certain creditors can force the sale of a home to collect on debts. Florida city, county and state governments, general contractors, creditors with pre-existing liens and creditors who have the property as a credit for a mortgage may still seek the sale of the home to satisfy debts.
If a property owner neglects a property, another individual may be able to take possession of it under specific circumstances. A person may obtain the title of a neglected property through adverse possession if he or she lives on it for 7 years, pax property taxes on it and makes an improvement to the property. This essentially means that “squatters” can initiate a justified transfer of property.
Property owners, debtors, tenants and squatters alike can all benefit from learning more about Florida’s real estate laws. Having an understanding of these unique statutes can help prevent and resolve legal disputes.