In a long overdue move, the Supreme Court has stepped into to protect landowners from government extortion.

Years ago, I had an option on a piece of land. I was going to build a home to live in on the land. So I purchased building plans and selected a builder to build the home.

I had worked out with the seller that the deal was contingent on me getting a building permit. But I got shut down by the city planning department. They gave me a long list of things I had to do in order to build.

To me, it felt like extortion. So I walked away even though I had a decent amount of money in the deal.

The next buyer of the property had to sue the jurisdiction to get the building permit. Now there's a nice house sitting on that land. I drive by it often and look over and smile because a lot has happened to me in 20 years and I've done just fine.

Well, the same thing happened to a property owner in central Florida who had the same scenario. He was told to pay for work the jurisdiction couldn't afford on other nearby properties in order to get his permit.

Now the Supreme Court has sided with the landowner in a 5-4 decision.

It is a real burden placed on private property owners in jurisdictions when local government uses a permit as a battering ram to try to get other things out of you that benefit them. That will not go on any more. The Supreme Court decision will now enforce something that should have been enforced all along.

Image of Clark Howard About the author: Clark Howard

Clark Howard is a consumer expert whose goal is to help you keep more of the money you make. His national radio show and website show you ways to put more money in your pocket, with advice you can trust. View More Articles

Show Comments 0