Florida League of Cities

Property Rights Attorney Fees and Costs (Monitor) – Passed

CS/HB 1167 (Yarkosky) and SB 702 (Martin) create a provision for the recovery of attorney fees and costs in a civil action regarding disputes over property rights. The bills define the term “property rights” to include use rights, ingress and egress rights, and those rights incident to land bordering upon navigable waters. In a civil action brought against the owner of a parcel of real property to resolve a dispute concerning these property rights, the bills would require the award of prevailing party attorney fees if the prevailing defendant made improvements in substantial compliance with, or in reliance on, environmental or regulatory approvals or permits issued by a political subdivision or a state agency. HB 1167 also defines the term “improvement” to include anything done to increase the value, use or benefit of real property, whether physical, material, legal or otherwise. SB 702 passed the Senate (40-0) and the House 115-0) and is awaiting action by the Governor. (Cruz)