Whether insuring a deed from the county or to the county, there are special requirements and statutes that every title professional should know. As you may recall, each conveyance must contain the following six elements: Capable Grantor and Grantee, Consideration, Legal Description, Conveyance Language, Execution and Delivery/Acceptance.
While all six are necessary, two of these elements are different when dealing with conveyances to or from the county; Execution and Delivery/Acceptance.
Conveyances to the county
The key difference in conveying property to the county is the element of Delivery/Acceptance. In theory, it is possible for an individual or entity to deed problematic real property to the county by recording a deed in the public records. The records would show the property being in the county’s name, thus potentially avoiding any liability for the previous owner. In an effort to mitigate people dumping unwanted property on the county without them knowing, most counties have passed ordinances or processes that require the county to formally accept a deed in it’s name.
For example, Orange County – Florida’s Code of Ordinances (Part II, Chapter 2 – Article VII) authorizes the recording department of the comptroller’s office to record a deed into the county’s name ONLY IF the document contains a stamp indicating “accepted and approved by real estate management department on behalf of Orange County“.
Most of the larger counties in the state have passed similar ordinances or requirements. This shouldn’t be seen as an obstacle, however, sellers and insurers should verify that this requirement is met when dealing with an authorized employee of the county.
Conveyances from the county
The key difference in receiving property from the county is the element of Execution. There is one important Florida Statute to follow when dealing with the conveyance of land by the county; 125.411, F.S. This statute starts by providing the form of deed that should be utilized when a county conveys property. The statute goes on to state that:
- No such deed of conveyance shall be required to be witnessed or acknowledged, but shall be entitled to record when properly executed.
- All deeds of conveyance by any county or by its board of county commissioners shall convey only the interest of the county and such board in the property covered thereby, and shall not be deemed to warrant the title or to represent any state of facts concerning the same.
- Any conveyance of real property executed by the board of county commissioners of any county after May 5, 1971, and before October 1, 1975, if it would have been valid had this act been in effect at the time such conveyance was executed, and the recording thereof by the clerk of the circuit court are hereby validated, ratified, and confirmed.