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Florida real estate disputes: Will school have to sell land?

The mood between a Florida school district, a building developer and a group of residents might currently be described as contentious. The three parties have been entangled in real estate disputes since November. Soon, a circuit court judge will hand down a final ruling on the case, which may or may not result in the school district having to sell more than three acres of land that exists on its campus.

As often occurs when several parties are engaged in litigation, this is a highly complex case. The school district is the acting plaintiff; however, the low-income housing developer and group of neighbors involved are hoping the judge will rule in their favor. The underlying issue that has sparked the complexity of the case has to do with the fact that there are two separate existing contracts regarding the acreage of land in question on the school district's campus.

The developer reportedly believed that the contract he signed to build more than 50 low-income housing units included the entirety of the three-plus acres. As it turns out, the school district holds the deed to part of the land, but the city holds the deed to the rest. The neighbors who stepped up to oppose the developer's plan are upset because the income thresholds for residency in the planned community are apparently too low for many local nurses, police officers and other civil servants, thus preventing them from qualifying for housing there.

Some of those commenting on the Florida case have said that it is the developer's own fault for misunderstanding the ownership details regarding the land, and he should not be asking the court to change contract terms to cover the error. However, others say the school district and all parties involved in the case were well aware from the start that the developer was looking to purchase the entire property rather than a mere section of it. Complicated issues regarding real estate disputes like this one can take weeks, even months to resolve, but hiring an experienced real estate law attorney typically increases the likelihood of a swifter, more agreeable outcome.

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