Wednesday, June 20, 2018
Business

Saying "controversy has developed," D.R. Horton sends offers to return mineral rights

The nation's largest home builder has begun sending letters to Florida homeowners offering to return their severed mineral rights.

The letters from D.R. Horton officials alert buyers that the rights to drill for minerals beneath their homes were retained by the builder before the home sale, according to a letter supplied to the Tampa Bay Times. The letters also give homeowners until the end of February to return a request for the rights to be returned for free to the homeowner.

A Times investigation in November found the builder had hoarded the rights beneath more than 2,500 Tampa Bay homesites before handing them over to the builder's energy subsidiary, DRH Energy.

It's unclear how many letters have been sent across the state. D.R. Horton executives did not return messages Wednesday.

Several homeowners said they never learned of the severed rights, or were told of them only when they had neared the end of the sale. The Texas-based builder said the mineral-rights deals were mentioned in buyers' purchasing contracts.

Rep. Ross Spano, R-Dover, and state Sen. Jack Latvala, R-Clearwater, have proposed bills that would force home sellers to alert buyers days in advance if they intend to keep the rights to drill underground.

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