Florida Court’s Denial of Landowner’s Easement Provides Important Lessons
Quarles & Brady Business Law partner Amanda Morton wrote an article for the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) Tampa about important lessons learned from a Florida court’s denial of a landowner’s easement. The Florida Third District Court of Appeal shocked the real estate legal community with their part in AFP 103 Corp. vs. Commonwealth Trust Services, LLC. The outcome in this case had very negative consequences for a condominium building where the court invalidated an easement for approximately 583 parking spaces that the condominium association thought was present over an adjacent piece of land. Morton summarizes the case and discusses how a practitioner should proceed when creating similar restrictive easements.
In a case of interest to landowners, developers and title companies, the Florida Third District Court of Appeal surprised the real estate legal community with its holding in AFP 103 Corp. vs. Commonwealth Trust Services, LLC. Although the law cited in the case has been settled for many years, the outcome in this particular case had serious negative consequences for a condominium building, whereby the court invalidated an easement for approximately 583 parking spaces that the condominium association thought was present over an adjacent parcel.
In AFP 103 Corp, the property was located in Miami-Dade County, and a county ordinance required the recording of a declaration of restrictive covenants providing for easements where multiple building parcels were planned for a development. Id. at 13. Subsequently, the original developer conveyed the parcels out to three different new owners, creating three parcels out of the two original parcels. Id. At 5-8. The restrictive easements were subsequently amended by a supplemental declaration that reserved a parking easement for approximately 583 parking spaces over one of the parcels that was at the time undeveloped. Id. at 6, 16-17. When the new owner of the undeveloped parcel put a fence up that prohibited the parking easement and ingress/egress easements from being used by the condominium parcel, the owners of the developed parcels filed suit. Id. at 8. Unfortunately for the developed parcels, the court upheld the trial court’s ruling that the parking easement was invalid. Id. at 15.