Tax Certificates & Tax Deeds
Certificates & Deeds
Tax certificates will be issued in Florida by the taxing authority when the owner of real property fails to pay property taxes. In turn, these certificates are sold at public auction. It’s important to keep in mind that a tax certificate does not transfer any ownership interest in a property, but rather is a secured lien, similar to a mortgage.
After a tax certificate has been outstanding for 2 years, the owner of the certificate may then begin an application for a tax deed, and all other outstanding tax certificates must be held by the applicant or the applicant must redeem the remaining outstanding tax certificates when applying for a tax deed.
The tax deed is thereafter set to Auction once an application for tax deed is completed, and noticed to all interested parties. The winning bidder at auction is awarded a tax deed, which transfers the ownership interest of the property to the bidder.
Tax Deeds as Transfers
Ownership of the property transfers to the tax deed holder once the tax deed is issued. Once the tax deed is purchased, the holder gains the right of possession of the property. However, the holder must adhere to Florida law to pursue any evictions needed.
In addition, owning the property through a tax deed does not generally provide you with an insurable marketable title to the property itself. In order to gain the right to sell the property with title insurance, it is necessary to file an action to Quiet Title.
The Necessity of a Quiet Title Action
A quiet title action seeks to permanently bar creditors, lien holders, mortgage holders, and prior owners from exercising their interest in the property. A Florida title insurance company is unlikely to issue a policy on a tax deed property without a quiet title action being first completed. If any interested parties in the title search process are found, they will be served with a copy of the Complaint to Quiet Title on the property, and will have a specified period of time to either respond to the quiet title action or dispute it. Should the claim be disputed, the attorneys at Bernhardt Riley will be prepared to advocate for your rights throughout the entire legal process that will follow. If the claim is undisputed, we will be able to proceed to the final judgment phase in which a court will certify that the title to your property is marketable. Essentially, the action to Quiet Title serves to protect the new owner of the property from any potential claims to the property.