Florida Senate - 2018                        COMMITTEE AMENDMENT
       Bill No. SB 1504
                              LEGISLATIVE ACTION                        
                    Senate             .             House              

       The Committee on Community Affairs (Rouson) recommended the
    1         Senate Amendment (with title amendment)
    3         Delete everything after the enacting clause
    4  and insert:
    5         Section 1. Subsections (1), (2), (5), and (6) of section
    6  197.502, Florida Statutes, are amended to read:
    7         197.502 Application for obtaining tax deed by holder of tax
    8  sale certificate; fees.—
    9         (1) The holder of a tax certificate at any time after 2
   10  years have elapsed since April 1 of the year of issuance of the
   11  tax certificate and before the cancellation of the certificate,
   12  may file the certificate and an application for a tax deed with
   13  the tax collector of the county where the property described in
   14  the certificate is located. The tax collector may charge a tax
   15  deed application fee of $75 and for reimbursement of the costs
   16  for providing online tax deed application services. If the tax
   17  collector charges a combined fee in excess of $75, applicants
   18  may use shall have the option of using the online electronic tax
   19  deed application process or may file applications without using
   20  such service.
   21         (2) A certificateholder, other than the county, who applies
   22  makes application for a tax deed shall pay the tax collector at
   23  the time of application all amounts required for redemption or
   24  purchase of all other outstanding tax certificates, plus
   25  interest, any omitted taxes, plus interest, any delinquent
   26  taxes, plus interest, and current taxes, if due, covering the
   27  property. In addition, the certificateholder shall pay the costs
   28  required to bring the property to sale as provided in ss.
   29  197.532 and 197.542, including property information searches and
   30  mailing costs, as well as the costs of resale, if applicable. If
   31  the certificateholder fails to pay the costs to bring the
   32  property to sale within 30 days after notice from the clerk, the
   33  tax collector must cancel the tax deed application. All taxes
   34  and costs associated with a canceled tax deed application shall
   35  earn interest at the bid rate of the certificate on which the
   36  tax deed application was based., and Failure to pay the such
   37  costs of resale, if applicable, within 30 days after notice from
   38  the clerk shall result in the clerk’s entering the land on a
   39  list entitled “lands available for taxes.”
   40         (5)(a) For purposes of determining who must be noticed and
   41  provided the information required in subsection (4), the tax
   42  collector must may contract with a title company or an abstract
   43  company to provide a property information report as defined in
   44  s. 627.7843(1) the minimum information required in subsection
   45  (4), consistent with rules adopted by the department. If
   46  additional information is required, the tax collector must make
   47  a written request to the title or abstract company stating the
   48  additional requirements. The tax collector may select any title
   49  or abstract company, regardless of its location, as long as the
   50  fee is reasonable, the required minimum information is
   51  submitted, and the title or abstract company is authorized to do
   52  business in this state. The tax collector may advertise and
   53  accept bids for the title or abstract company if he or she
   54  considers it appropriate to do so.
   55         1. The property information report must include the
   56  letterhead of the person, firm, or company that makes the
   57  search, and the signature of the individual who makes the search
   58  or of an officer of the firm. The tax collector is not liable
   59  for payment to the firm unless these requirements are met. The
   60  report may be submitted to the tax collector in an electronic
   61  format.
   62         2. The tax collector may not accept or pay for a property
   63  information report any title search or abstract if financial
   64  responsibility is not assumed for the search. However,
   65  reasonable restrictions as to the liability or responsibility of
   66  the title or abstract company are acceptable. Notwithstanding s.
   67  627.7843(3), the tax collector may contract for higher maximum
   68  liability limits.
   69         3. In order to establish uniform prices for property
   70  information reports within the county, the tax collector must
   71  ensure that the contract for property information reports
   72  includes include all requests for property information reports
   73  title searches or abstracts for a given period of time.
   74         (b) Any fee paid for initial property information reports
   75  and any updates for a title search or abstract must be collected
   76  at the time of application under subsection (1), and the amount
   77  of the fee must be added to the opening bid.
   78         (c) Upon receiving the tax deed application from the tax
   79  collector, the clerk shall record a notice of tax deed
   80  application in the official records, which constitutes notice of
   81  the pendency of a tax deed application with respect to the
   82  property and which remains effective for 1 year from the date of
   83  recording. A person acquiring an interest in the property after
   84  the tax deed application notice has been recorded is deemed to
   85  be on notice of the pending tax deed sale and no additional
   86  notice is required. The sale of the property automatically
   87  releases any recorded notice of tax deed application for that
   88  property. If the property is redeemed, the clerk must record a
   89  release of the notice of tax deed application upon payment of
   90  the fees as authorized in s. 28.24(8) and (12). The contents of
   91  the notice must be the same as the contents of the notice of
   92  publication required by s. 197.512. The cost of recording must
   93  be collected at the time of application under subsection (1) and
   94  added to the opening bid.
   95         (d) The clerk must shall advertise and administer the sale
   96  as set forth in s. 197.512, administer the sale as set forth in
   97  s. 197.542, and receive such fees for the issuance of the deed
   98  and sale of the property as provided in s. 28.24.
   99         (e)A notice of the application of the tax deed in
  100  accordance with ss. 197.512 and 197.522 which is sent to the
  101  addresses shown on the statement described in subsection (4) is
  102  conclusively deemed sufficient to provide adequate notice of the
  103  tax deed application and the sale at public auction.
  104         (6) The opening bid:
  105         (a) On county-held certificates on nonhomestead property
  106  shall be the sum of the value of all outstanding certificates
  107  against the property, plus omitted years’ taxes, delinquent
  108  taxes, current taxes, if due, interest, and all costs and fees
  109  paid by the county.
  110         (b) On an individual certificate must include, in addition
  111  to the amount of money paid to the tax collector by the
  112  certificateholder at the time of application, the amount
  113  required to redeem the applicant’s tax certificate and all other
  114  costs, and fees paid by the applicant, and any additional fees
  115  or costs incurred by the clerk, plus all tax certificates that
  116  were sold subsequent to the filing of the tax deed application,
  117  current taxes, if due, and omitted taxes, if any.
  118         (c) On property assessed on the latest tax roll as
  119  homestead property shall include, in addition to the amount of
  120  money required for an opening bid on nonhomestead property, an
  121  amount equal to one-half of the latest assessed value of the
  122  homestead.
  123         Section 2. Present subsection (3) of section 197.522,
  124  Florida Statutes, is redesignated as subsection (4), and a new
  125  subsection (3) is added to that section, to read:
  126         197.522 Notice to owner when application for tax deed is
  127  made.—
  128         (3)When sending or serving a notice under this section,
  129  the clerk of the circuit court may rely on the addresses
  130  provided by the tax collector based on the certified tax roll
  131  and property information reports. The clerk of the circuit court
  132  has no duty to seek further information as to the validity of
  133  such addresses because property owners are presumed to know that
  134  taxes are due and payable annually under s. 197.122.
  135         Section 3. Subsections (2) and (3) of section 197.582,
  136  Florida Statutes, are amended, and subsections (4) through (9)
  137  are added to that section, to read:
  138         197.582 Disbursement of proceeds of sale.—
  139         (2)(a) If the property is purchased for an amount in excess
  140  of the statutory bid of the certificateholder, the surplus
  141  excess must be paid over and disbursed by the clerk as set forth
  142  in subsections (3), (5), and (6). If the opening bid included
  143  the homestead assessment pursuant to s. 197.502(6)(c). If the
  144  property purchased is homestead property and the statutory bid
  145  includes an amount equal to at least one-half of the assessed
  146  value of the homestead, that amount must be treated as surplus
  147  excess and distributed in the same manner. The clerk shall
  148  distribute the surplus excess to the governmental units for the
  149  payment of any lien of record held by a governmental unit
  150  against the property, including any tax certificates not
  151  incorporated in the tax deed application and omitted taxes, if
  152  any. If the excess is not sufficient to pay all of such liens in
  153  full, the excess shall be paid to each governmental unit pro
  154  rata. If, after all liens of governmental units are paid in
  155  full, there remains a balance of undistributed funds, the
  156  balance must shall be retained by the clerk for the benefit of
  157  persons described in s. 197.522(1)(a), except those persons
  158  described in s. 197.502(4)(h), as their interests may appear.
  159  The clerk shall mail notices to such persons notifying them of
  160  the funds held for their benefit at the addresses provided in s.
  161  197.502(4). Such notice constitutes compliance with the
  162  requirements of s. 717.117(4). Any service charges, at the rate
  163  prescribed in s. 28.24(10), and costs of mailing notices shall
  164  be paid out of the excess balance held by the clerk. Notice must
  165  be provided in substantially the following form:
  167             NOTICE OF SURPLUS FUNDS FROM TAX DEED SALE            
  168         CLERK OF COURT
  169         .... COUNTY, FLORIDA
  171         Tax Deed #:....
  172         Certificate #:....
  173         Property Description:....
  174         Pursuant to chapter 197, Florida Statutes, the above
  175  property was sold at public sale on ...(date of sale)..., and a
  176  surplus of $...(amount)... (subject to change) will be held by
  177  this office for 120 days beginning on the date of this notice to
  178  benefit the persons having an interest in this property as
  179  described in section 197.502(4), Florida Statutes, as their
  180  interests may appear (except for those persons described in
  181  section 197.502(4)(h), Florida Statutes).
  182         To the extent possible, these funds will be used to satisfy
  183  in full each claimant with a senior mortgage or lien in the
  184  property before distribution of any funds to any junior mortgage
  185  or lien claimant or to the former property owner. To be
  186  considered for funds when they are distributed, you must file a
  187  notarized statement of claim with this office within 120 days of
  188  this notice. If you are a lienholder, your claim must include
  189  the particulars of your lien and the amounts currently due. Any
  190  lienholder claim that is not filed within the 120-day deadline
  191  is barred.
  192         A copy of this notice must be attached to your statement of
  193  claim. After the office examines the filed claim statements, it
  194  will notify you if you are entitled to any payment.
  195         Dated:....
  196         Clerk of Court
  198         (b)The mailed notice must include a form for making a
  199  claim under subsection (3). Service charges at the rate set
  200  forth in s. 28.24(10) and the costs of mailing must be paid out
  201  of the surplus funds held by the clerk. If the clerk or
  202  comptroller certifies that the surplus funds are not sufficient
  203  to cover the service charges and mailing costs, the clerk shall
  204  receive the total amount of surplus funds as a service charge.
  205  Excess proceeds shall be held and disbursed in the same manner
  206  as unclaimed redemption moneys in s. 197.473. For purposes of
  207  identifying unclaimed property pursuant to s. 717.113, excess
  208  proceeds shall be presumed payable or distributable on the date
  209  the notice is sent. If excess proceeds are not sufficient to
  210  cover the service charges and mailing costs, the clerk shall
  211  receive the total amount of excess proceeds as a service charge.
  212         (3)A person receiving the notice under subsection (2) has
  213  120 days from the date of the notice to file a written claim
  214  with the clerk for the surplus proceeds. A claim in
  215  substantially the following form is deemed sufficient:
  218         Complete and return to:....
  219         By mail:....
  220         By e-mail:....
  221         Note: The Clerk of the Court must pay all valid liens
  222  before distributing surplus funds to a titleholder.
  223         Claimant’s name:....
  224         Contact name, if applicable:....
  225         Address:....
  226         Telephone Number:.... E-mail Address:....
  227         Tax No.:....
  228         Date of sale (if known):....
  229  .... I am not making a claim and waive any claim I might have to
  230  the surplus funds on this tax deed sale.
  231  .... I claim surplus proceeds resulting from the above tax deed
  232  sale.
  233         I am a (check one) ....Lienholder; ....Titleholder.
  234         (1)LIENHOLDER INFORMATION (Complete if claim is based on a
  235  lien against the sold property).
  236         (a)Type of Lien: ....Mortgage; ....Court Judgment;
  237  ....Other
  238         Describe in detail:....
  239         If your lien is recorded in the county’s official records,
  240  list the following, if known:
  241         Recording date:....; Instrument #:....; Book #:....; Page
  242  #:....
  243         (b)Original amount of lien: $....
  244         (c)Amounts due: $....
  245         1.Principal remaining due: $....
  246         2.Interest due: $....
  247         3.Fees and costs due, including late fees: $.... (describe
  248  costs in detail, include additional sheet if needed);
  249         4.Attorney fees: $....(provide amount claimed): $....
  250         (2)TITLEHOLDER INFORMATION (Complete if claim is based on
  251  title formerly held on sold property.)
  252         (a)Nature of title (check one): ....Deed; ....Court
  253  Judgment; ....Other (describe in detail):....
  254         (b)If your former title is recorded in the county’s
  255  official records, list the following, if known: Recording
  256  date:....; Instrument#:....; Book #:....; Page #:....
  257         (c)Amount of surplus tax deed sale proceeds claimed: $....
  258         (d)Does the titleholder claim the subject property was
  259  homestead property? ....Yes ....No.
  260         (3)I hereby swear or affirm that all of the above
  261  information is true and correct.
  262         Date:....
  263         Signature:....
  264         STATE OF FLORIDA
  265         .... COUNTY.
  266         Sworn to or affirmed and signed before me on ...(date)...
  267  by ...(name of affiant)...
  269         ...(Print, Type, or Stamp Commissioned Name of Notary)...
  270         .... Personally known, or
  271         .... Produced identification;
  272         Identification Produced:....
  274         (4)A claim may be:
  275         (a)Mailed using the United States Postal Service. The
  276  filing date is the postmark on the mailed claim;
  277         (b)Delivered using either a commercial delivery service or
  278  in person. The filing date is the day of delivery; or
  279         (c)Sent by fax or e-mail, as authorized by the clerk. The
  280  filing date is the date the clerk receives the fax or e-mail.
  281         (5)Except for claims by a property owner, claims that are
  282  not filed on or before close of business on the 120th day after
  283  the date of the mailed notice as required by s. 197.582(2) are
  284  barred. A person, other than the property owner, who fails to
  285  file a proper and timely claim is barred from receiving any
  286  disbursement of the surplus funds. The failure of any person
  287  described in s. 197.502(4), other than the property owner, to
  288  file a claim for surplus funds within the 120 days constitutes a
  289  waiver of interest in the surplus funds and all claims thereto
  290  are forever barred.
  291         (6)Within 90 days after the claim period expires, the
  292  clerk may either file an interpleader action in circuit court to
  293  determine the proper disbursement or pay the surplus funds
  294  according to the clerk’s determination of the priority of claims
  295  using the information provided by the claimants under subsection
  296  (3). The clerk may move the court to award reasonable fees and
  297  costs from the interpleaded funds. An action to require payment
  298  of surplus funds is not ripe until the claim and review periods
  299  expire. The failure of a person described in s. 197.502(4),
  300  other than the property owner, to file a claim for surplus funds
  301  within the 120 days constitutes a waiver of all interest in the
  302  surplus funds and all claims for them are forever barred.
  303         (7)A holder of a recorded governmental lien, other than a
  304  federal government lien or ad valorem tax lien, must file a
  305  request for disbursement of surplus funds within 120 days after
  306  the mailing of the notice of surplus funds. The clerk or
  307  comptroller must disburse payments to each governmental unit to
  308  pay any lien of record held by a governmental unit against the
  309  property, including any tax certificate not incorporated in the
  310  tax deed application and any omitted taxes, before disbursing
  311  the surplus funds to nongovernmental claimants.
  312         (8)The tax deed recipient may directly pay off all liens
  313  to governmental units that could otherwise have been requested
  314  from surplus funds, and, upon filing a timely claim under
  315  subsection (3) with proof of payment, the tax deed recipient may
  316  receive the same amount of funds from the surplus funds for all
  317  amounts paid to each governmental unit in the same priority as
  318  the original lienholder.
  319         (9)If the clerk does not receive claims for surplus funds
  320  within the 120-day claim period, as required in subsection (5),
  321  there is a conclusive presumption that the legal titleholder of
  322  record described in s. 197.502(4)(a) is entitled to the surplus
  323  funds. The clerk must process the surplus funds in the manner
  324  provided in chapter 717, regardless of whether the legal
  325  titleholder is a resident of the state or not.
  326         (3)If unresolved claims against the property exist on the
  327  date the property is purchased, the clerk shall ensure that the
  328  excess funds are paid according to the priorities of the claims.
  329  If a lien appears to be entitled to priority and the lienholder
  330  has not made a claim against the excess funds, payment may not
  331  be made on any lien that is junior in priority. If potentially
  332  conflicting claims to the funds exist, the clerk may initiate an
  333  interpleader action against the lienholders involved, and the
  334  court shall determine the proper distribution of the
  335  interpleaded funds. The clerk may move the court for an award of
  336  reasonable fees and costs from the interpleaded funds.
  337         Section 4. This act applies to tax deed applications filed
  338  on or after October 1, 2018, with the tax collector pursuant to
  339  s. 197.502, Florida Statutes.
  340         Section 5. This act shall take effect July 1, 2018.
  342  ================= T I T L E  A M E N D M E N T ================
  343  And the title is amended as follows:
  344         Delete everything before the enacting clause
  345  and insert:
  346                        A bill to be entitled                      
  347         An act relating to tax deed sales; amending s.
  348         197.502, F.S.; requiring a tax certificateholder to
  349         pay specified costs required to bring the property on
  350         which taxes are delinquent to sale; requiring the tax
  351         collector to cancel a tax deed application if certain
  352         costs are not paid within a specified period for
  353         certain purposes; revising procedures for applying
  354         for, recording, and releasing tax deed applications;
  355         revising provisions to require property information
  356         reports for certain purposes; prohibiting a tax
  357         collector from accepting or paying for a property
  358         information report under certain circumstances;
  359         amending s. 197.522, F.S.; authorizing a clerk to rely
  360         on addresses provided by the tax collector for
  361         specified purposes; amending s. 197.582, F.S.;
  362         revising procedures for the disbursement of surplus
  363         funds by clerks; providing forms for use in noticing
  364         and claiming surplus funds; specifying methods for
  365         delivering claims to the clerk’s office; providing
  366         deadlines for filing claims; providing procedures to
  367         be used by clerks in determining disbursement of
  368         surplus funds; authorizing a tax deed recipient to pay
  369         specified liens; specifying procedures to be used by
  370         the tax clerk if surplus funds are not claimed;
  371         providing applicability; providing an effective date.