Property Disputes in Tampa, FL
Property disputes in Florida are common between neighbors. They even occur between companies and governments. People want to protect what is legally theirs, but sometimes the boundary lines are not clear.
Find out what you can do if you have a property dispute in Tampa, Florida. Discover the legal remedies and actions that can help you clear up a misunderstanding, arrange a settlement, or manage an issue involving your property.
What Is a Property Dispute?
Property disputes are legal disputes that involve real estate, including single-family homes, apartments, roads, condominiums, and ponds. Tampa, FL property disputes can involve a wide range of parties, which might include some of the following:
- Homeowners’ association
- Landlords and tenants
- Family members
- Property visitors
- Government agencies
Residents facing a property dispute in Tampa will most likely have to file with the Trial Court located in the Hillsborough County Courthouse. This court holds jurisdiction and handles the majority of property dispute cases for the city.
Common Types of Tampa, Florida Property Disputes
It’s important to know about common disputes to understand your circumstances. The most common property disputes often include:
- Disputes between neighbors regarding where property lines exist
- Disputes between landlords and tenants regarding who is at fault for damage to the property
- Homeowners and real estate developers disagreeing over who is responsible for repairs on construction
- People blocking their neighbor’s view via a “spite fence” or another structure specifically made to annoy their neighbor
- Disputes between mortgage lenders and creditors over who can foreclose a property and who receives the proceeds of a sale
- Disputes between homeowners and government agencies about whether they have a utility easement
- Ownership disputes about who is the rightful owner of a property
- Issues with zoning
Beyond these examples, you may find other situations in Tampa where a property dispute occurs. In general, if you own land, you have to constantly watch out for it and ensure that others are not using it illegally or trying to claim it as their own.
Understanding Typical Tampa, Florida Property Disputes
According to the University of Florida, Tampa land owners are liable for damages if a tree falls and causes damages to another’s property. The land owner is not held liable for any nuisance suits filed due to low hanging or overhanging tree limbs. However, an adjoining property owner is entitled to trim back such branches if they cross the property line.
Florida’s Right to Farm Act prevents the advancement of nuisance suits against farmland in Tampa. It also prevents these suits from being filed against any lands that price agricultural products. If such a suit is filed, it will be dismissed.
Legal Process for Boundary Disputes In Tampa, Florida
Has someone brought a property dispute against you in Tampa, or are you starting a property dispute against someone else? If so, you need to understand the legal process you will go through. This process begins with understanding the issue at hand.
Understand the Boundary Issue
To understand the specific boundary dispute, you’ll have to do the following things:
- Complete a land survey to locate the exact boundary of your home as outlined in the legal description of the deed. This survey will help you understand your property and how much of your land is encroached.
- Conduct an appraisal to learn the exact market value of the piece of property that is in dispute.
- Do a title search to find all of the documents in the chain of title of your Tampa, FL property. The title search will show if any deeds may affect your ownership.
These things will likely have happened when you purchased the home. If that’s the case, the documents you already have should suffice unless the case goes to court.
The Municipal Code of Tampa affirms that all residential areas that erect a fence must abide by the property zoning laws set forth by the city. Any fence, wall, or partition that is built in the front yard, and is made of opaque materials, cannot exceed 3 feet in height. However, fences made of transparent materials can reach 4 feet in height, so long as they do not obstruct light, air, or visibility.
Try to Find a Solution with Your Neighbor
Property dispute litigation in Tampa, Florida can cost a fortune, not to mention it can take a long time to settle a dispute. Therefore, it’s important to open a discussion between you and your neighbor. If you can reach an agreement and settle the dispute without going to court, you can save time and money.
Try to communicate directly with your neighbor. You can attempt sending a letter, email, making a phone call, or visiting their home if that’s a safe option.
If no progress happens and it’s clear that you and your neighbor are still on completely different pages, at this point, you should consider hiring an attorney to assist you. They can help you understand if you have legal grounds upon which to stand. If you do, then you can send a demand letter.
Sending a Demand Letter
This letter will be from your Tampa attorney to your neighbor, and it will outline the property dispute. It will give your neighbor the option to respond via a requested action, or it will provide a reasonable price for settling the dispute out of court.
Your neighbor will likely forward this letter to their attorney to better understand the boundary dispute. From there, the attorneys on both sides will decide the best course of action moving forward.
Going to Court or Reaching a Settlement
Typically, the best option for both sides is to settle the dispute out of court to avoid costly litigation fees. But if your negotiations are going nowhere, it might be necessary to file the dispute with the court. The court will then look closely at the evidence presented and determine who owns the Tampa, FL property in question. Keep in mind the court’s decision is legally binding. You may not agree with it, or it may not be exactly the result you wanted to see. That is why it’s typically in your best interest to settle.
If your property dispute involves more than $30,000 you may bypass the Trial Court and file with the Hillsborough County Circuit Court. An experienced attorney in Tampa can help you decide which is better for your case.
Work With an Experienced Local Property Dispute Lawyer In Tampa, Florida
When it comes to property disputes, you should work with an experienced property dispute lawyer. Whether you’re filing a property dispute against your neighbor or you are defending a dispute brought against you, you’ll need a lawyer that understands Tampa property law on your side. An experienced lawyer can help you settle before taking the dispute to court, which will save you both time and money. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Florida state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an attorney in your area!