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Florida Tax Deed Surplus Funds - What Happens if a Subordinate Lienholder Doesn’t Make a Claim for the Surplus Funds or if They Don’t Show up To Court?

I have handled thousands of Florida Tax Deed Sale Surplus and Foreclosure Surplus Funds cases all over the state of Florida. Sometimes the biggest obstacle to getting those funds for my clients is the Subordinate Lienholder. But what happens if they don’t file a claim, or if they do what happens if they don’t show up to court? Why wouldn’t a lienholder want to make a claim for those Florida Foreclosure Surplus Funds? Sometimes they forget. Sometimes they aren’t properly represented by a qualified attorney to help them get their funds back. Whatever happens, it is good for the former owner.

Florida Statute 197.582 states, that any subordinate lienholders (who may have a claim) have 120 days to assert their claim or they are barred from doing so. If the subordinate lienholder doesn’t make a claim within that timeframe, they are out of luck. However, sometimes they have made a claim but just don’t show up to court. I recently had a case that was pending on a claim for Florida Tax Deed Sale Surplus Funds that had been in the works for a very long time. The Clerk of Court intervened in the case and notified the lienholders, who all filed answers in the case. However, they never set it for a hearing. After more than a year had passed, the court set the case for a hearing on its own. No one from the Clerk’s office showed up for the hearing and none of the subordinate lienholders showed up either. What did this mean for my client?

I took the opportunity to point out to the judge that even though all of these parties had answered the Clerk’s intervention into the case, none of them had requested the surplus funds within the allotted amount of time. Rather than dismiss the case, the judge granted my motion to release all of the remaining Florida Tax Deed Surplus Funds to my client. If any of these lienholders had shown up to the hearing, they probably would have been paid, but as it was, my client received everything.

Furthermore, even if I had not been there for the hearing, it doesn’t mean that my client wouldn’t have received those Florida Tax Deed Surplus Funds. The statute only puts a time limit on subordinate lienholders to make a claim. If they don’t make a claim and the case ultimately gets dismissed, the former owner can still make a claim for the Surplus Funds at any time. The Clerk of Court will hold onto those funds for a period of time and then send to the Unclaimed Funds with the Florida Treasury. You can still make a claim at any time in the future. Florida Statute 197.582(5) states, “except for claims by a property owner, claims that are not filed on or before close of business on the 120th day after the date of the mailed notice… are barred.” This means that the property owner has more than the 120 day deadline to make a claim, but all other claimants must have their claims in no later than 120 days or they are barred from making any claim at all.

This is why it is so important to hire a qualified Florida Tax Deed Sale Surplus and Foreclosure Sale Surplus Attorney. You need to make sure you hire someone who will fight for every bit of those surplus funds you have coming to you. Give me a call to discuss the unique facts surrounding your case I can help to determine the best way to get you the most of your Florida Surplus Funds. I handle Foreclosure Surplus and Tax Deed Surplus cases in every County in the State of Florida, and I don’t get paid unless you do.

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