Once upon a time just before dawn, Dracula stretched into his coffin for a long nap. Exhausted from flapping as a bat, he was ready for an extended rest, undisturbed by a steak plunged in his heart, or gunfire with silver ammo, and certainly he wanted no part of smelly garlic. He closed the lid to his coffin and went fast to sleep.
On Halloween, a Pirate knocked at Dracula’s castle door. “Trick or treat?” said the Pirate, but there was no answer. The Pirate knocked again, louder this time, but again there was no answer. After the third time, the Pirate let himself in to look for candy.
He opened the door to Dracula’s castle and what he found was a bounty of grandiose treasure—lavishly appointed, the luxurious layout held spectacular views in all directions. Why would anyone ever want to leave? thought the Pirate, though indeed no one seemed to be at home, and given the state of the cobwebs, no one had been there in quite some time. So the Pirate wholesale moved in. He started paying the utilities and got the tax bill put in his name.
This went on for seven years, until one night Dracula woke up. The Pirate was having a party for his former shipmates. All his pirate pals were teasing him about turning into a land-lover while he was showing off his ultimate bachelor pad. Dracula rose up and demanded to know what was going on.
“Dude, this is my place now,” said the Pirate. “I paid the bills and put the tax notice in my name. By Squatters Rights, this castle belongs to me.”
“But I live here!” Dracula protested.
“No you do not live here,” said the Pirate, “you die here.” And with that the Pirate and his buddies stuffed the vampire back in the coffin and nailed it shut with silver spikes. Then they went and buried it in the garden. “Shame to lose a good coffee table like that,” said the Pirate, but the party raged on regardless.
If you sleep on your rights for seven years, you can lose your land. By Common Law, it takes 20 years for someone to claim property through Adverse Possession; however in Florida, Adverse Possession is ruled by Statutory Law, and only requires 7 years of Actual, Hostile, Open, Notorious, Exclusive, Continuous use of real estate. A Land Pirate has to change the tax bill to his name, which gives notice to the landowner that something is up. It is not an easy way to grab land, but as a property owner, pay attention to your tax bill…make sure you receive your property tax bill. If you sleep on your property rights, you may wake up to pirates in your parlor.