The phenomenon of “coastal squeeze” in real estate litigation is an emerging reality in Florida. Property disputes regarding property lines are as old as society itself. In many cases, landowners encounter a conflict they need to solve in court or privately. When the challenge that landowners face is, instead, due to a natural cause, interpreting property laws becomes difficult. Florida’s residents are finding the boundaries of their properties changing from private to public.
Rising tides and property lines
Real estate litigation, as it applies to beachfronts, supports the rights of landowners who have a tidal element on their properties. Tides change in cycles, reaching hide and then low levels periodically. Over time, the constant cycles of high and low tides will erode natural land and expand a beach’s shores. The challenge here is that most landowners rely on property lines that are dictated by where the high tide, which is now growing, naturally falls.
Public and private: Conflicting domains
Since tidal waters change and then revert in steady cycles, the public has a chance to use beachfronts. As the low tide comes in, sand that was covered by crashing waves then reappears, and this area is designated for public use according to Florida law. The conflict that land and homeowners face is the ownership of beach property that reduces in size. Not only are some properties shrinking, but where the reduction occurs becomes public land by default.
Real estate litigation in Florida
Real estate litigation faces a unique issue that puts public and private interests at risk. Cooperation is necessary in times like these. Taking action to restore properties is a logical option. What the State designates as public and private may also need to change this year.