RIPARIAN RIGHTS IN FLORIDA

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Ownership of waterfront property is very desirable in Florida and often involves unique real property considerations. When it comes to private waterfront property ownership, it can be difficult to distinguish where the private land rights cease and the sovereign land ownership begins. As a result, a subset of real property law has emerged to address what is called “riparian rights.” Riparian rights include the rights of ingress, egress, boating, bathing, fishing and even the right to an unobstructed view of the water. Examples of situations that riparian rights address include: (1) the general use of water adjacent to property, (2) wharfing out to navigability in the channel, (3) actual access to navigable waters; and, (4) the right to accretions. Shore Village Property Owners' Ass'n, Inc. v. State Dept. of Environmental Protection, 824 So.2d 208 (Fla. 4th DCA 2002). Such rights inure to the owner of the upland; however, the actual land covered by the water is not owned by the upland owner.

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