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How to deal with deed fraud in Florida real estate titles

On Behalf of | Mar 1, 2024 | Real Estate Contract Disputes, Tampa Real Estate Attorney

After considering the location, quality, price and resale value, you finally bought your dream house. However, no matter how clear a title may seem, there is always the possibility that there is trouble you do not expect.

How is deed fraud committed?

A fraudster can steal a title by transferring ownership without the actual owner knowing. He or she can take out a mortgage on it or offer the false deed to unknowing buyers.

Other ways to commit deed fraud include faking an owner’s signature and adding false information. A deed signed by the actual owner may still be fraudulent if he or she signed due to force or pressure, is a minor or has mental incapacity.

Florida law counters real property fraud

A recent law in Florida set out measures to address deed fraud. It mandated every county’s clerk of the court to provide a free electronic notification service by July 1, 2024. This will inform a registered user whenever his land record is logged in the county’s public records.

The new law will also speed up the clearing process on fraudulent titles and require witnesses in real estate documents to provide their addresses. Further, the bill launched a program in Lee County that requires identification verification for those requesting transfer of ownership. The Lee County clerk must recommend if other counties should follow suit when the pilot program ends in 2025.

Taking legal action on a fraudulent title

If your Florida property has a fraudulent title, you have four years in general to sue for fraud This means you need to act as soon as possible. Homes are a huge financial investment, and being the victim of deed fraud can leave you holding onto a massive amount of debt and nowhere to live.