Legal Issues of Owning Beachfront Property

by RyanD on March 14, 2013

If you are a beach lover, chances are you have dreamed of owning a beachfront property. The idea of waking up in the morning to the sun rising over the ocean or walking out your door and stepping foot on the soft sand is enough to motivate you to work as hard as possible to save the money you need to buy. But you need to know that, while beachfront properties offer some of the best scenery, there can be legal issues that will turn your dream home into an unexpected nightmare. Before you start shopping for properties or place an offer, know what legal issues you might face so that you can resolve the issues before they haunt you.


Know the Boundaries and Your Limits

If you are buying a waterfront property, there can be issues when it comes to a property’s boundaries. These littoral properties, which are properties that have boundary lines that fall on bodies of water like lakes, oceans, or inlets, have very confusing property lines that even the most experienced buyers do not understand. You may receive the rights to the land that fall within the boundaries of your littoral property, but buying the littoral property does not mean that you are buying rights to the water, regardless of where the lines fall. When you are reviewing information on the property, a true waterfront property will have a waterline boundary that is clearly defined.


Know the Restrictions

Now that you understand how property boundaries may become an issue, you need to understand some of the restrictions you might face when you decide to build on your beachfront home. Typically, the restrictions involve either the water your home is built by or the land it is built on. If you want to build your own pier that will give you easy access to the shore or the ocean, you need to be sure that there are not restrictions or limitations that may prevent this. You will also need to take time to review your responsibilities on maintaining the pier in order to keep it safe and to prevent liability issues from arising.

Even if you do not plan on building on your land, you may have responsibilities depending on the area in which you are buying. Most beachfront homeowners are required to take steps to keep the water within their waterline boundary clean. The code may also require you to take steps in order to prevent erosion on or around your property and provide documentation as proof of fulfillment. You may be asked to prove you have fulfilled your obligations and not having documentation can lead to legal problems. Make sure that you are willing to take on all aspects that are involved with owning a beachfront property before you start searching for your dream home.

You must consider more than just the location of a property and the upgrades when you are shopping for a home on the water. By looking into the legalities, you can avoid some serious problems later down the line. It is best to consult a real estate attorney with experience dealing with waterfront properties and their restrictions. By consulting an attorney first and weeding through all of the conditions attached to the property, you can determine whether or not a beachfront property is right for you.


This article was written together with Billy Dunham, a home improvement expert who writes on various blogs throughout the web. They write this on behalf of Riverview Shutters, your number one provider of shutters in Perth. Make sure to check out their website and see their great riverview outdoor shutters for your home.




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