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Reasons to be wary of golf courses

There is a reason so many people choose to retire in Florida. It has warm weather pretty much year round. The ocean is warm, and the beaches are sandy. The hurricane warning system is in impeccable condition. Alligators rarely eat people and the giant pythons almost never leave the safe haven of the Everglades. The state boasts low corporate and sales tax and has no state income tax.

And it has golf courses. Lots and lots of golf courses. Florida has more golf courses than any other state. And this makes for some unique considerations for businesses looking for a place situated near enough to a course that their employees can squeeze in 9 holes at lunch.

Because, golf balls, and golfers, play such a large role in the lives of resident Floridians, the state has crafted a set of laws specifically about buildings and the golf courses they abut. Here's the distilled essence of what you need to know:

  • Golfers may legally enter private property to retrieve stray golf balls. If you run a company that needs tight control over who comes onto the outer grounds, you may want to think twice before leasing a building sharing space with a golf course. Whereas the average person cannot enter private property without explicit permission, a golfer is allowed to enter the grounds solely for the purpose of retrieving his or her ball. If your building is surrounded by walls or fencing, he or she must ask permission before entering. So if you prefer to keep random strangers wielding clubs off your grounds, you may need to either seek different accommodations or work with your attorney to make arrangements specific to your business.
  • Golfers and golf course owners are not responsible for damages caused by golf balls. Even the best golfers make a bad shot from time to time. And sometimes that shot can cause damage to your building. Unfortunately for your bottom line, there is no law against being a bad golfer. Almost every lease for commercial real estate buildings that are near golf courses state that renters are responsible for any damage caused by stray golf balls. You may want to check with your property insurance provider to ensure that they cover this type of property damage.

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