Have you ever owned a vacant lot? I have owned a few vacant lots in the past, and have always been amazed how people view a vacant lot as public property. What do I mean by “public property”? A few years ago my wife and I owned a vacant piece of canal front property. One day, I received a code violation from Collier County stating that parking my boat on my vacant lot was a code violation and that it needed to be moved within a few short days. Here’s the thing – I didn’t own a boat.
This of course prompted a visit to the property where a very nice boat and trailer were discover parked on our property. It took only a few knocks on some of the neighbors’ doors to determine the owner. When we explained that we did not appreciate a boat being parked on our property nor the code violation that accompanied it – he apologized and promised to move it right away. Common sense will tell you not to park your boat on someone else’s property, so I was surprised when he asked his next question: “Sometimes I have parties and would like to know if I could have some of the guests park on your vacant lot?”.
I was surprised that he was asking this question, as I am sure this was a regular practice in the past – with no permission being asked. Being an attorney, I know how litigious people can can be. The first thought that came into my mind was being sued by some drunken party goer who ended up in falling in the canal from my vacant lot. I can just hear the argument “… but your honor, I would not have fallen in the canal if Mr. Cotter would have had his grass cut and his lawn leveled.” Needless to say, we politely declined and cited that we were not insured for that activity.
Not to be outdone, his parting comment was “… well THATS not very neighborly…”. Apparently he needed to be reminded who’s boat was on who’s property and who had received a code violation.