When you buy a waterfront property, you probably expect to always have a beautiful, serene view of the water. You may also want to go boating on the water. Rights to these desires fall under riparian rights and land use laws in Florida.
Although you have the right to an unobstructed view, a judge may see it differently. A view obstruction must interfere with the majority of the waterfront property and not just a small part of it. Your right to an unobstructed view in Florida ties into your right to ingress and egress from the water. Florida law expects that developers leave unobstructed access for residents to ingress and egress from the water.
Property owners can build piers, docks and wharves because this construction is necessary for traveling over the water. Before you buy a waterfront property, inquire about construction projects that are set to occur. You don’t want to buy the property if there was already a new construction planned that may negatively affect your enjoyment of the waterfront view.
As a waterfront property owner in Florida, you have the right to not only navigate the waters but to engage in boating, fishing and wharfing. You’re even allowed to bathe in the water on your property.
However, never assume that you have riparian rights. You must check that riparian rights are valid on your property because some properties are close to water but don’t come with this protection. Homes that are adjacent to navigable waters usually don’t have riparian rights. Typically, your property must have direct access to the navigable water. You can consult with a lawyer who’s familiar with land use laws if you have any questions.
Most waterfront properties in Florida come with generous riparian rights to protect the owner’s enjoyment of and investment in the property. You may be able to receive compensation if a company significantly obstructs your waterfront view because it lowers your property’s value and your enjoyment.