Tampa, Florida-- You can shovel all you want, but all you'll get is a hole. That's the reality for more than 2,500 homeowners in Tampa Bay.
The seller of their homes, D.R. Horton, the largest home-builder in the nation, quietly retained the mineral rights to their properties, meaning D.R Horton owns the dirt under the house, and any valuable minerals that could be there- like phosphorus, oil, metals, and natural gas.
Whispering Oaks in Brandon is one such community, and when homeowners learned about it...
"I was pretty disgusted by the fact that all this was done in a contract-binding, but it wasn't brought to our attention," said homeowner Eric Spevack.
"They're not going to come back and fix things that go wrong or keep it updated, so why should they continue to have the rights beneath the property," said homeowner Megan Monahan.
To protect homeowners, State Senator Jack Latvala and Representative Ross Spano are sponsoring legislation that would require real estate developers to disclose to buyers that they intended to retain the mineral rights.
Senator Latvala wrote in a news release thursday, "I think we rightly assume when we buy a home, we also buy the land beneath that home. Our bill is necessary to protect the rights of Florida home-buyers and the property that they're purchasing."
D.R. Horton did not return a 10 News request by email and voicemail for comment. Homeowners, however, did.
The new legislation was just introduced in Tallahassee and could go to committee as early as this spring.
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