Tax Deed Florida

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Tax Deed Florida

I’m considering purchasing a tax deed
property in North Florida. The property
seems abandoned but there are still a
lot of personal items inside the home
and in the yard. From what I can tell,
none of these items seem to be of value,
there’s very old furniture tossed around
inside, broken kids toys, bikes and old
appliances scattered throughout the
yard. There’s even an old motor home
that appears to be non operational in
the yard. I’d like to just start
throwing these things away if I’m the
winning bidder, but I want to make sure
that I’m within my legal rights to do
so.

So, would I become the legal owner these
items too after the tax deed sale or is
there a certain amount of time that I
have to wait before throwing away?

Any advise you can provide on this issue
will be appreciated.

Asked on March 2, 2019 under Real Estate Law, Florida

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

No, you don't become the legal owner of those items by acquiring the property. 
You can dispose of items left on your property (once it becomes your--i.e. once title is transferred), since you are not obligated to store items on your land for another, but have to make a reasonable, good faith effort to find the owner and let him/her retrieive them. For example, contacting the prior owner and seeing if these were his/hers or he/she wants them. Get any permission to dispose of them in writing if you can.
If you fail to make (and document!) a good faith effort to find the owner, then the owner could potentially sue you for the items' value.
You can dispose of anything a hazard to health immediately (e.g. organic garbage; jagged old toys which someone might step on) or anything clearly irretrievably broken and valueless (e.g. TV with hole punched in screen). It's only the things that may have some residual value that you have to be careful of.


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