Lowndes attorney Gary Kaleita discusses important considerations when acquiring a property with a submerged land lease.
The Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund of the State of Florida (the Board of Trustees) is vested with title to all land lying under navigable waters within the State of Florida, which land is known as sovereignty submerged lands. The term “navigable waters” is the subject of significant Florida statutory and case law too complex to discuss here, but generally refers to any waters that are navigable for useful public purposes, such as the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and large rivers and lakes of the state. (Smaller bodies of water such as creeks, streams and small lakes may require a case-by-case analysis.)
An owner whose property adjoins sovereignty submerged lands generally has a common law right to use and enjoy the adjacent water for viewing, swimming, fishing, bathing, boating and similar passive purposes, but this does not entitle the upland owner to build structures in the water, such as ramps, docks, boathouses, marinas and the like. These activities require an upland owner to obtain a lease of the adjoining sovereignty submerged lands from the Board of Trustees. Chapter 18-21, Florida Administrative Code (F.A.C.), sets forth the rules that guide the Board of Trustees in that regard. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) serves as staff to the Board of Trustees in administering the State’s sovereignty submerged lands leasing program.
In order to obtain a sovereignty submerged lands lease, the owner must submit an application to FDEP. If the upland property owner’s lease application is approved by FDEP, the lease will be for a standard term of 10 years if it pertains to a residential (including multi-family) property, or a marina where at least 90% of the slips are maintained for rent to the public on a first-come, first-served basis. Otherwise the term will be for 5 years. [Read more]
This is an excerpt from a blog post originally written on Lowndes Leasing Lawyers.
This article is informational only. You should consult an attorney before acting or failing to act. The law may change rapidly and no warranty is given. LOWNDES DISCLAIMS ALL IMPLIED WARRANTIES AND WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY WARRANTY OF FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ALL ARTICLES ARE PROVIDED AS IS AND WITH ALL FAULTS. Consult a Lowndes attorney if you wish to establish an attorney/client relationship.