Recent discussions with both leaseholders and other county residents have unfortunately shown that the "Save Pensacola Beach" efforts to mislead the public as the what the SRIA lease system actually does have been largely successful.
These are the FACTS: Under the terms of ALL leases, Escambia County is the owner of all land and of improvements of a permanent character erected or placed on the county-held land. Additionally, all leases contain clauses requiring lessees to repair or rebuild any damaged or destroyed improvement, and lessees are prohibited from removing any permanent improvement; no lease contains any clause granting an option to purchase either the land or the improvements; and leases provide for different renewal periods. Leases on more than 600 parcels contain no renewal provision. Some provide for renewal on terms that are subject to negotiation or “renegotiation,” and some require a written notice to renew; and, no leases are automatically renewable or perpetual in duration.
In short, YOU DO NOT OWN YOUR HOME, BUSINESS or the land or which it sits, and if it is destroyed, you must rebuild it. Additional lease provisions might also surprise you. Many leases require that the leasehold be the primary residence of the leaseholder, while others roll all of the rules of the homeowners' association at the time of issuance into the lease language. IF you haven't done so, READ YOUR LEASE. You might be violating it and not even know it.
The SRIA continues to grapple with how to equitably charge the leaseholders who do not have equitable ownership on their land for the services they receive. This and the proposed ordinance preventing us from ever owning our taxed leaseholds will be discussed at a workshop at the SRIA building at 4:00 p.m. on August 14th. We recommend that all interested leaseholders attend!