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Jacksonville Tax Deeds Attorney

Wouldn’t you like to be able to pick up a piece of property for the price of the back taxes owed on the property, plus a few dollars in government fees? County governments sell properties all the time for taxes, and anyone with the patience and means can acquire property through a tax deed sale. There are many steps to take before you can make a tax deed property your own, however, not the least of which is a suit to quiet title and make sure you are truly gaining ownership that is not claimed by another owner or a bank. Jacksonville real property litigation attorney Daniel M. Copeland can advise you on tax deed sales and represent you in a quiet title suit in the circuit courts of Duval, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns County. Learn more about tax deeds below, and contact Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. for help acquiring title free and clear of adverse claims.

How Florida tax deed sales work

In a tax deed sale, a property is sold by the county because of delinquent real estate taxes. Taxes and fees of the sale go to the Tax Collector and can include all of the following:

  • Taxes owed on the property
  • Interest on past due taxes
  • Tax Collector fees
  • Costs to advertise the sale

The first step in acquiring a tax deed is to obtain a Tax Certificate. Under Florida Statutes 197.432, a tax certificate acts as a lien against the property for unpaid real estate taxes. Tax certificates are offered for sale at auction and sold to the bidder who promises to pay the taxes (redeem the certificates) at the lowest rate of interest for the investor.

The property owner has two years to redeem those certificates by paying the taxes, interest and fees. If the certificates are not redeemed, the certificate holder can apply for a tax deed sale. The certificate holder must pay all delinquent and current taxes, fees and costs and also pay for an ownership and encumbrance report stating the people who must be notified prior to the sale. These people include:

  • The legal titleholder of record
  • Any lienholders of record
  • The mortgagee of record
  • Any vendee of a recorded contract
  • Anyone who applied to receive notice of the sale
  • Any lienholder with a recorded lien against a mobile home on the property
  • Contiguous property owners if the property is a common element

The County Clerk then conducts the tax deed sale at the specified time. This is an auction with the tax deed sold to the highest bidder. The property can be redeemed any time prior to the issuance of the tax deed.

Tax deeds generally do not provide a marketable title

When you’re buying a property at a tax deed sale, you don’t necessarily know who owned that property or how it was encumbered. You don’t know which parties or how many parties may have a lien or claim against the property. The clerk does not make any representations or warranties regarding the title. This means you’ll need to do your own research (or hire an experienced real estate attorney to research for you) to determine if there are any liens or encumbrances on the property which might survive the sale. Research may also turn up other important factors such as limitations on how the property may be used or the presence of hefty homeowner association or condominium association dues.

Tax deed sales are final. You can’t get legal advice from the clerk during the process, and you can’t get your money back if it turns out you bought something different than you thought. A quiet title suit is necessary every time a tax deed is bought. This is the only way you have of ensuring that you get good title to the property you are acquiring. Jacksonville real property litigation attorney Daniel M. Copeland is experienced in bringing suit to quiet title in Duval and surrounding county courts. He’ll work to resolve any outstanding claims against the property so that you’ll take possession with good title.

Jacksonville Real Property Lawyer for Duval County Tax Deed Sales

For help with tax deed sales in Duval, Clay, Nassau and St. Johns counties, contact Daniel M. Copeland, Attorney at Law, P.A. in Jacksonville at 904-482-0616.

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