When it comes to protecting your most valuable asset, namely your home, knowledge is power. In a previous post, we gave you a general overview of Florida tax deed sales. In this article, we’ll look at the issue in greater detail. Specifically, we’ll give you some insight into how the Florida tax sale process works, so you never have to worry about losing your home.

The best way to keep your home is to pay your property taxes on time. If you don’t, the past due amount turns into a lien on the dwelling. In short, once this happens, the tax collector can legally sell the property to pay off the lien.

In fact, Florida law stipulates that he or she must sell tax certificates beginning on June 1 for the prior year of delinquent real estate taxes.  This “sale” is more like an auction, where the winning bidder, or “buyer” is the person who charges the least interest on the tax debt. In addition to a tax certificate, the person who buys the lien acquires the right to collect the debt, plus interest.

Under Florida law, two years from April 1 of the year that the tax certificate is issued must elapse before the person who holds the lien can initiate a tax deed sale by filing an application with the tax collector.

In the meantime, you can reclaim or “redeem” your home. Florida statutes allow you to do so by paying the amount listed on the tax certificate, any applicable interest and costs. For instance, state statutes mandate that you pay an additional 5% charge if the person who bought the lien did so by making a bid of less than 5% interest on the debt. However, this surcharge does not apply if the buyer acquired the lien with a bid of 0% interest.

Legally, you have the right to “redeem” or reclaim your home until payment is rendered for the tax deed or a tax deed is issued.

You should be aware however, that a tax deed sale of a property in Florida can only happen as long as the person who purchased the tax certificate applies for a tax deed before the certificate expires and all relevant parties are given proper notice.  The proceeds from the sale are used to pay off the amount owed to the person who bought the tax lien and any ancillary costs. If the total sale proceeds exceed this amount, the prior owner and anyone else who holds a lien on the property can also seek reparations.

On the other hand, if the person who bought the lien doesn’t apply for a tax deed within seven years, the tax certificate will no longer be valid.

Clearly, this is a complicated issue for homeowners. The savvy investor, however, can use the tax deed sale process to purchase tax deeds in Florida through the public auction process.

Whether you’re facing a tax deed sale of your property or you would like to learn more about how our firm can assist with the purchase of tax deed in Florida, contact the business and real estate attorneys at Eskander Loshak LLP today.

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