Property Tax Deeds in Florida
What are Tax Deeds in Florida?
The term “tax deed” refers to a legal document granting property ownership to a government body when the owner fails to pay any associated property taxes.
The taxing authority—usually a county government—must go through several legal steps to acquire a tax deed. We have 90 days from the expiration of the claim period to either recommend disbursement or interplead. We recently had a decision from a Judge that the collections company is assigned to the surplus funds, and the assignment should be honored even if there is a court order to pay the assignor.
How to Buy Tax Deeds in Florida
Some Clerks will send an acknowledgment of receipt when they receive a claim. In the acknowledgment, they usually advise if a senior lienholder is entitled to priority.
If there are grounds for objection, that notice usually triggers an obligation for that party to formally object.
For the Clerks who do not send that acknowledgment, consider holding off on disbursement for a week or two after the claim period. In case an objection is for coming.
If any of the properties have pending litigation (quiet title actions, dec actions, etc.) we need to be advised ASAP, even if the Clerk will have their in-house attorney respond.
That pending litigation may affect our recommendation of disbursement or litigation strategy.
If possible, include copies of older deeds and probate orders that are not recorded.
That will expedite our review.
Notice of Surplus Funds From Tax Deed Sale
Notice of Surplus or Notice of Overbid Funds should be sent to all lienholders and owners simultaneously. Otherwise, it creates an issue with the timing/claim window. The notice of surplus should also be mailed on the same day they are dated.
Clerks should be diligent regarding to notice requirements. Case law generally requires strict compliance.
We came across an interesting case that found an application for a tax deed notice defective where only a single notice addressed to both owners was sent. Terra Mar Capital, Inc. v. Auxier, 694 So. 2d 779 (Fla. 4th DCA 1997). For example, if a husband and wife own a property, a notice to each spouse must be sent to the same address.
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