Government HeistPublished on October 16, 2018
A little known aspect of Florida law allows the government to take your property – without compensation – without notice – and without the right to due process. Does this seem a little off?
I agree, but under Florida Statute 95.361, that is exactly what is happening all over the state. If you own property near a road maintained by the city, county, or state, you could have already lost your property – and the government says that you voluntarily gave it to them! How very nice of you.
In these cases, the government entity providing the maintenance may have inadvertently began mowing your property while maintaining their right-of-way. Their mowing, a seemingly simple task, did not interfere with your rights of ownership, was not exclusive, was not notorious, and in most cases the work was not consistently performed.
Nonetheless, under Florida law, the after FOUR YEARS of performing this type of service, the government files a map with the county and TAKES FEE SIMPLE OWNERSHIP of your property. Does the map name you? No. Does the government notify you? No. Does the government relieve you of your taxes on the property? No. Does the government have to compensate you? No. Does the government have to go to court to take your ownership? No.
Flatly, in the face of both the Florida and United States Constitutions, each which protect your individual right to own property, the government takes your property all under the auspice that you “presumably dedicated” your property to the government. Can you stop it? In many cases, no you cannot. In those instances that you can, you have seven years to file a legal challenge against the government’s action.
It is my hope that this law has not affected you, but if it has, or if you think that, you might be affected, please contact our office for more information.