Before 2013, Florida’s houseboats were considered sea vessels rather than homes - but that all changed when activist and developer Fane Lozman took his case to the U. S. Supreme Court.
Lozman gained national attention in 2013 when the court ruled in his favor after the city of Riviera Beach demolished the houseboat he was living in, arguing that it did not qualify as a residence. Last Sunday, Lozman returned to Riviera Beach with a new houseboat in tow.
Lozman has been involved in local politics for years, and he says he sees himself as an advocate for the rights of houseboaters across the country.
“My initial battle to the Supreme Court was to fight on behalf of other floating home owners so they wouldn’t have to go through the nightmare I did,” he said.
Back in Riviera Beach, Lozman has parked his houseboat on 25 acres of submerged land he has purchased. He says he intends to use the 25 acres to create a community of residential houseboats.
“Consider it like a giant marina," he said. "I own the submerged lands and I’m going to put in some docks and have some floating homes there.”
As sea-level rise continues to threaten Florida’s oceanfronts in the coming years, Lozman sees his venture as the solution. For now, however, he says his biggest challenge will be fighting others who are competing with him for the valuable space - and finally getting back the money for his first ruined houseboat.