In Florida, as in many other states, properties that fall into arrears on delinquent taxes may eventually be sold at public auction by the county in which they are located. The process by which this occurs, called a Tax Deed Sale, is detailed in Chapter 197 of the Florida Statutes and can be a little daunting to read through. We here at Jordan + Pascale, P.L. have years of experience representing clients in Tax Deed Sales; the following is a short overview to help you get acquainted with the reasons for and processes of these unique real estate transactions.
First, as the name suggests, a Tax Deed Sale is performed to recoup unpaid taxes on real estate properties. Properties cannot be sold until a number of prior requirements are met and deadlines passed at which time the holder of the Tax Lien Certificate against the property may file to force a public auction of that property. This is what is referred to as a Tax Deed Sale.
A Tax Deed Sale extinguishes most liens against a property and prioritizes those held by municipalities and counties, which again stands to reason when you consider that the main motivation for a Tax Deed Sale is to pay delinquent taxes. However, there is still some issue regarding which liens and debts against a property are still applicable after the sale. As such it is of paramount importance that proper notice be given to the legal titleholder of record and all lienholders, including mortgage companies, and failure to comply with these notice requirements can result in the sale being voided. Because there is often some questions as to the chain of ownership for Tax Deed Sale properties, purchasers commonly file Quiet Title Actions to permanently “quiet” – or eliminate – all claims to a property’s title.