Clerk of Court has Affirmative Duty to notify Owner of Tax Sale

03/12/2012 6:48 PM | Anonymous

Our thanks to Paul Minoff at McGlinchey Stafford PLLC for pointing out and summarizing Delta Property Management v. Profile Investments.  

In a decision that may prove to be a mixed blessing for title insurers and a headache to those who buy tax certificates, yesterday, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that when faced with knowledge that a notice of tax sale sent to the last known address of the property owner has been undelivered, the Clerk of Court has an affirmative duty to take reasonable steps to make sure that the property owner is provided with notice. 

According to the court, "reasonable steps depend on the particular circumstances of the case and may include: checking the records of the taxing authorities for a change of address submitted by the legal titleholder; resending notice by regular mail so that no signature is required; posting notice on the property to be sold, not merely at the last known address of the titleholder; or sending a notice addressed to 'occupant' by regular mail." 

Whether this ruling will make any practical difference in a given case is to be seen, but it could certainly spawn litigation in cases where the tax sale notice is not delivered regarding whether the Clerk of the Court did his/her job in accordance with this opinion.

As always, check with your underwriter as to any specific requirements for insuring a transaction following a tax deed.

Thank you Paul for all of your continuing support of FLTA.

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