Author: Starlett M. Massey
New tax deed sale legislation is on the horizon with substantial implications for lienholders. House Bill 1383 was ordered enrolled on March 9, 2018, after unanimously passing both the House and Senate. HB 1383 proposes amendments to § 197.582, Fla. Stat., that will have the effect of barring claims to surplus tax deed sale funds if certain procedures are not followed. If the proposed bill becomes law, lienholders will have a hard and fast 120 days from the date of the county clerk’s notice of tax deed sale surplus funds to file a written claim with the clerk for the surplus proceeds. If a lienholder fails to file a claim on or before the close of business on the 120th day following the date of the mailed notice, the claim will be barred and they will receive no distribution of the surplus funds. Failure to timely file a claim will constitute a complete waiver of interest in the funds and forever bar all claims to the surplus funds. The foregoing provisions will apply to all claims, except a claim by a property owner.
The proposed amendments also set forth the required form the clerk must use to provide notice of surplus funds. Among other requirements, the clerk’s notice must include a form for making a claim. The amendments also establish the form required to file a claim and how a claim must be filed with the clerk. The amendments authorize mailing a claim using the U.S. Postal Service, delivering a claim in person or using a commercial delivery service, or sending a claim by fax or email if authorized by the clerk. The filing date would be the date postmarked if mailed, date of delivery if delivered, or date of receipt by the clerk if faxed or emailed.
If Governor Scott approves HB 1383, the proposed amendments will become effective July 1, 2018 and apply to tax deed applications filed on or after October 1, 2018. The bill text in entirety can be found here: https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2018/1383/BillText/er/PDF