Palm Beach County official records show Texas-based developer D.R. Horton signed the mineral rights to scores of properties over to its energy subsidiary before selling new homes built on the land to buyers.
In multiple deeds dating back to 2007 between D.R. Horton and DRH Energy, lots in subdivisions such as Sagewood and Verona Palms in Greenacres, as well as Knollwood in Boynton Beach and Pioneer Trail in suburban Royal Palm Beach had the rights to their “minerals, resources and groundwater” separated from the property.
D.R. Horton announced in December it would temporarily stop the practices of severing mineral rights from properties before selling homes on the land, and would give homeowners a chance to reclaim those rights if they had lost them during the sale.
Mike and Jacque Campbell, who bought a D.R. Horton home in Sagewood in 2009, received a letter from the developer last week alerting them to the opportunity.
The couple didn’t realize they didn’t buy the mineral rights with their original purchase.
“We would have never known to look for the mineral rights issue in our paperwork when signing, and why would we have to?” Jacque Campbell said.
“When you purchase a home and a piece of land you’re paying taxes on, why would you sign away your rights to that land in any way shape or form?
“We absolutely do not remember anyone telling us about it. Seems more than a bit shady,” she said.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi announced Friday that the Fort Worth, Texas-based developer will send letters to an estimated 18,000 Florida homeowners who had the mineral rights severed from below their properties.
Bondi’s office sent a letter to the developer in November expressing “concern that homebuyers may not have been given adequate disclosures of the severance of the mineral and groundwater rights from their properties when they purchased their family home.”
In a quit claim deed filed Jan. 29, DRH Energy signed back the mineral rights to D.R. Horton on several properties in communities including Delray Beach’s Gramercy Square and Heritage Club in Boynton Beach.
In the 2007 deed to DRH Energy, multiple resources are named, including gases, or any other type of geothermal substances, aluminum, water, shell, silver, turquoise, uranium, limestone, magnesium, and zinc.
The letter to the Campbells says; “Since you purchased your home, controversy has developed in Florida regarding the severance of mineral rights from real property used for residential purposes.
D.R. Horton has agreed to stop the practice until Florida lawmakers address the issue, or, if they don’t address it by Jan. 1, 2015, the company will revisit the issue.
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