The Bert J. Harris, Jr., Private Property Rights Protection act of 1995 guarantees landowners recourse if unfairly affected by government action. Updates to this act, often shortened to the “Bert Harris Property Rights Act” in Florida, may now help residents when challenging government land-use restrictions.
What type of land-use restrictions
The land-use restrictions impacted by the Bert Harris Property Rights Act include “any relevant land interest held by a landowner” and are intentionally left vague by the authors. This includes subsurface and mineral estates that are found on the land. This measure effectively provides greater rights and protections against the government interfering with your property and land use.
As the Bert Harris Property Rights Act engages in real property, this includes both the land and buildings on that land. Therefore, the restrictions could be on either the building or the land, depending on what was being done.
What are some challenges with the Act?
Opponents to the Bert Harris Property Rights Act suggest that oil companies may be encouraged to expand their business. As a result of the new law, governments may want to avoid lengthy litigation and the costs associated with it. Additionally, the new act could suppress local government action to protect homeowners.
What are property owner advantages to the new act?
Before the expansion of the Bert Harris Property Rights Act, property owners were required to bring a claim to the courts after they had applied for and were denied developmental approval. Further, there was a 150-day waiting period before submitting a lawsuit under the act. The expansion of the Bert Harris Property Rights Act would provide property owners the right to challenge before permit application and denial and reduce the waiting period from 150 to 90 days. The expansion may benefit the property owners directly as the financial burden of these requirements is reduced.
The expansion of the Bert Harris Property Rights Act further provides property owners with rights against governmental overreach on their properties. The Act broadens the acceptable criteria for exercising the law and potentially reduces the financial burden on the property owner. A qualified and experienced attorney may be able to provide guidance and assist a property owner in seeking recourse if the government has unnecessarily burdened them due to their property.