An Overview of Tax Deed Sales in Florida

It’s one of those ugly, unpleasant, yet inescapable facts of life. Everyone in the United States of America who has a job, a vehicle, land and/or a home will end up paying taxes at some point. Even if you get a federal or state refund for your annual income tax return, you’ll still have to pay personal property taxes (on your vehicle) and real estate taxes for your house and/or land.

In Florida, failure to pay applicable real estate taxes and the accumulation of resulting debts can have dire consequences. One of them is the sale of the property at public auction to recover the amount owed. Legally, this type of auction, which is held in the county where the property is located, is known as a Tax Deed Sale.

The laws governing these sales can be found in Chapter 197 of the Florida Statutes.  Among other things, these laws dictate that certain deadlines must expire and certain criteria must be met before the property can be sold. These laws also specify who must be notified, and when and how those notifications must be made.

Another thing to keep in mind is that these sales eliminate most – but not all – claims or liens against the property. Because the purpose of these sales is to recover money owed for back taxes, liens held by counties and municipalities are prioritized accordingly.

Since some questions may remain about which claims are still viable after the sale, it is essential to advise all concerned parties such as the titleholder of record (the property owner) and all claimants, including mortgage companies, about the Tax Deed Sale in the manner stipulated by law. Lack of compliance with the legal requirements for notification could cause the sale to be voided.

Finally, it is also important to note that there may also be lingering questions about the chain of ownership for properties that are subject to tax deed sales.  To address these concerns, many buyers file Quiet Title Actions to permanently remove all claims to a property’s title.

If you haven’t paid your real estate taxes and have questions or concerns about notification, or any other aspect of tax deed sales in Florida, it is important to consult a knowledgeable, experienced attorney as soon as possible.

Tax Deed Sales are also a great opportunity for investors to potentially snatch up properties for pennies on the dollar. For some, this is a risky proposition, as there are no refunds once you buy and some liens may remain on the property following the Tax Deed Sale. For the savvy investor, however, Tax Deed Sales can be a gold mine.

Here at Eskander Loshak, we’re well-versed in the intricacies of Tax Deed Sales and have helped a multitude of investors secure valuable investment properties throughout Florida. We’re also experienced in the filing of Quiet Title Actions – a necessary part of the equation if you plan on acquiring clean title in order to resell the properties following the Tax Deed purchase. Contact one of our experienced attorneys today to find out how we can help you invest in Florida’s booming real estate market!

 

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