N O T I C E
Effective July 1, 2011 **Deposit Requirement Change**
The deposit due on winning a bid will change from a flat $200 to $200 or 5% of the winning bid, whichever is greater.
N O T I C E
Effective May 10, 2010, when a tax deed is brought to sale and there is no bid, if the certificate holder wishes to register the tax deed under a different name, the certificate holder must pay an endorsement fee of $2.25 in accordance with Chapter 197.462(4), Florida Statutes. This fee must be paid to the Tax Collector’s Office and a proof of receipt provided to Official Records before the name change may be executed.
Property owners are required to pay property taxes on an annual basis to the County Tax Collector. If the owner neglects to pay his/her taxes by the end of May following the taxable year, a "Tax Certificate" is sold by the Tax Collector.
A tax certificate is held for a minimum of two years and a maximum of seven years. At any time between the second and seventh year, the certificate holder may request the sale of the property to satisfy the certificate.
The actual sale is normally held in the Board Chambers inside the Escambia County Governmental Complex. All owners and lien holders are notified and the sale is held in accordance with Florida Statutes.
The property is placed up for bid and auctioned off. All bids must be honored within 24 hours of the sale.
Costs, fees, and any valid liens are paid out of the monies received from the successful bidder. Notarized claims must be submitted to the Clerk's Office to substantiate a claim. The Certificate Holder is then reimbursed his monies plus interest earned. The former property owner as well as lienholders may claim any excess funds.
Taxes become delinquent April 1st of each year. At that time, the Tax Collector begins preparing the certificate sale. A tax certificate is sold for all taxes not paid by June 1st. A tax certificate is a tax lien against the property. The certificate holder does not have any rights to the property. If no individual purchases a certificate on a piece of property at the June 1st sale, the county assumes the certificate. There are two types of tax certificates: individual and County. The owner or interested party may redeem the certificate at any time by paying to the Tax Collector the delinquent taxes and interest earned by the certificate holder. (Section 197.472, F.S.). The tax certificate has a life of seven years. (Section 197.482, F.S.).
If a certificate is not redeemed, the certificate holder may force the issue by making application for tax deed. (For County held certificates, the Board of County Commissioners makes application for the tax deed). The application process must begin in the Tax Collector's office. The Tax Collector prepares the necessary paper work (which includes Tax Collector's certificate and legal description of property) and forwards it to the Clerk's office. The Clerk's office prepares the legal advertisement for the newspaper, the certified mailing of notices of the pending sale, the civil process to be served by the Sheriff's office, the calculation of the opening bid, answers questions from public, and waits for the sale day. The owner or interested party may redeem right up until the very last minute prior to the sale. At the time of redemption, the Clerk's office receives the Clerk's fee, advertising costs, the sheriff's service costs, plus interest earned (as per Section 197.542, F.S.) and receives Tax Collector's check for redemption of the certificates and interest.
Remember this is a "BUYER BEWARE" situation. Each buyer must conduct his or her own due diligence. Due diligence includes, but is not limited to, conducting independent research to insure that you are aware of any liens or encumbrances on the property.
Arrive a few minutes before the starting time ( normally 9:00 a.m. ) in the meeting chambers of the Board of County Commissioners, Room 100, located at 221 Palafox Street to register as a bidder for the sale.
The bidding for each property will start with the opening bid. It is required, by office policy, that bids must be made in at least $10.00 increments above the last bid.
There will be no questions answered after the sale begins.
All parties are asked to refrain from conversation while a sale is being conducted.
If you are successful bidder, you must remain for the duration of the sale and then go to Suite 110 for the exact total amount you must pay before 3:30 p.m. Your bid amount and all fees for filing your deed must be paid by 3:30 p.m. the day of the sale. Payments must be made by certified funds or cash.
In accordance with Section 197.542(2), F.S., on all Tax Deed Applications made on or after October 1, 2001, the high bidder shall post with the Clerk a non-refundable cash deposit of $200 or 5% of the winning bid, whichever is greater, at the time of the sale, to be applied to the sale price at the time of full payment. Bidders will be required to show their willingness and ability to post the deposit prior to the sale.
Telephone: (850) 595-3793
Tax Deeds Department
221 Palafox Place
Pensacola, Florida 32502
Clerk of the Circuit Court
P.O. Box 333
Pensacola, Florida 32591-0333
What is a tax deed sale?
A Tax Deed Sale is a public auction where real estate is sold to recover delinquent property taxes. (This is governed by Chapter 197, Florida Statutes, and Administrative Code 12D-13.060, Florida Department of Revenue).
Who conducts the tax deed sale?
A deputy clerk employed by the Clerk of the Circuit Court conducts the sale or public auction in accordance with Section 197.502(5), F.S.
When and where are these tax deed sales held?
Tax Deed Sales are held the first Monday of the month at 9:00 a.m. in the meeting chambers of the Board of County Commissioners, Room 100, located at 221 Palafox Street, Pensacola, Florida. The date of the sale will change if the first Monday of the month is a holiday.
The Tax Deed Office is also located on the 1st floor of the Escambia County Government Complex in Suite 110. For more information, please contact the Clerk's Tax Deed Division at (850) 595-3793.
Where can information about upcoming sales be obtained?
The tax deed sales are advertised in the Escambia Sun Press. The Clerk of the Circuit Court is required by Florida Statutes to advertise each sale once a week for four consecutive weeks prior to the public auction, Section 197.512(1), F.S. You can purchase copies of the legal ads, which includes the opening bid, from the Clerk of Circuit Court's office (Suite 110 in the Escambia County Government Complex 221 Palafox Place) at a cost of $ 1.00 per page. The Property Appraiser also receives a copy of the legal ads with the opening bids. That office adds a map of the property location, a possible street address (if there is one) and the assessed value from the tax roll. The Property Appraiser's Office sells this information as a Tax Deed Package at the rate of $20.00.
What liens or encumbrances survive against a property after it is sold at a tax deed sale?
Governmental liens and judgements survive the issuance of a tax deed and are satisfied to the fullest extent possible with any overbid monies from the sale. Governmental liens not satisfied in full survive the issuance of a tax deed and will still remain against the property. Records can be researched at: www.clerk.co.escambia.fl.us (click on Public Records and then click on Official Records).
Can the property owner stop the property from being sold for taxes?
The property owner or mortgage holder can redeem the property from the tax deed sale by paying the amounts owed to the Tax Collector and the Clerk of Circuit Court. The total redemption is collected in the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court. (Many of the properties advertised for the sale will be redeemed and will not be auctioned).
If I am the successful bidder at the sale, what do I need to do?
According to office policy, as the successful bidder you are asked to remain until the auction is complete and then report to Suite 110 (1st floor of the Escambia County Government Complex). You will be given a slip with the exact calculations for your total amount due. This total will include your bid amount and the fees to record your Tax Deed. The money must be brought back to the Clerk of Circuit Court's office by 3:30 p.m. the same day as the sale. (Payment can only be made by cash or certified funds.)
What if I am the successful bidder and fail to return with the payment?
Section 197.542(2), F.S. states: "the clerk may refuse to recognize the bid of any person who has previously bid and refused, for any reason, to honor such bid". Therefore, those individuals would not be allowed to bid at any future tax deed sales.
Do I get a clear title with a tax deed?
All properties sold at a tax deed sale qualify under "buyer beware". The purchase of a Tax Deed does not warrant or guarantee clear and marketable title. Note: Most title insurance companies require the property to go through a quiet title lawsuit for the property to be able to have title insurance issued on property bought by Tax Deed.
What are some things that I should know before the sale?
In order to participate in the bidding process, one must arrive a few minutes prior to
the starting time to register. You or your representative must be physically present at the sale in order to bid on the property. It is highly recommended that you research the properties prior to the sale day in order to understand what you are purchasing at the sale. (You should research for liens, zoning, restrictions, etc.)
If I am the successful bidder at a Tax Deed Auction, am I entitled to immediate possession of the property after a Tax Deed has been issued to me?
Section 197.562, F.S., states: "Any person, firm, corporation, or county that is the grantee of any tax deed under this law shall be entitled to the immediate possession of the lands described in the deed. If demand for possession is refused, the purchaser may apply to the circuit court for a writ of assistance upon 5 days' notice directed to the person refusing to deliver possession. Upon service of the responsive pleadings, if any, the matter shall proceed as in chancery cases. If the court finds for the applicant, an order shall be issued by the court directing the sheriff to put the grantee in possession of the lands."
How is the amount of the opening bid determined?
If the property is not homestead property, the amount of the opening bid equals the total of unpaid taxes and interest, the Tax Collectors administration fees, the Clerk of Circuit Court administration fees and expenditure fees required by the Florida Statutes to bring the property to delinquent tax sale. If the property is homestead property, half of the assessed value from the tax roll is added to the above amounts for the total opening bid.
How long does it take to receive the Tax Deed?
You should have your Tax Deed within 7 to 10 days from the sale date.
Where can I obtain information regarding the sale of tax certificates?
Tax certificate information can be obtained from the Escambia County Florida Tax Collector's Office. The phone number for the Escambia County Florida Tax Collector is 850-438-6500.
Please read the instructions for the forms that you are downloading.
Additional forms may be needed depending on your situation.
NOTE: The forms supplied by the Clerk's office are general in nature and may not meet your specific needs. The Clerk does not guarantee the legal sufficiency of these forms; therefore, you may need to consult with an attorney regarding your particular situation.
NOTE: Most of the "Related Resource" links above are not maintained by the Clerk.