New Pilot Program to Prevent Property Fraud

Florida’s Legislators seeks to prevent real property fraud through implementing an Identity Verification Pilot Program. There have been issues of individuals acting like they are the legal owners of property by recording fraudulent documents with forged signatures. After they become the new owners, they proceed to rent or sell the property. Owners of vacant homes and lots have fallen victim to such schemes we well as customers who rent or buy these properties.

Effective July 1, 2023, Florida House Bill 1419 was passed and authorizes the clerk of circuit court to request that government I.D. be presented before recording a deed. This will help law enforcement be able to identity and investigate parties engaged in fraudulent property transactions. Additionally, they are implementing other requirements for the clerk before recording a deed. Florida House Bill 1419 made significant changes to the law by amending Section 695.26 and adding Section 695.025 to the Florida Statutes.

The amendment to Section 695.26 now requires that the post office address of each witness is printed, typewritten, or stamped beneath each witness’s signature. If this requirement is not followed, the clerk of the circuit court is prohibited from recording an instrument that disposes of title or any interest in the real property, such as conveying, assigning, or encumbering.

The creation of Section 695.025 requires a statutory quitclaim deed form to convey title to or an interest in real property. There needs to be acknowledgement, or signature, of the grantor, which is notarized, in order for a quitclaim deed to be recorded. Even though Florida has previously recognized quitclaim deeds there was not a statutory form. This action is intended to provide uniformity of quitclaim deed used in the state.

This pilot program is implementing protections that should limit real property fraud. The ins and outs of real property law is very intricate so it is important you understand how you can best protect yourself and your property. However, the attorneys at Soto Law Group are equipped with the experience, knowledge, and expertise to handle this subject with ease. If you require assistance with real property, construction, or contract laws or any other legal problems you might be facing, please contact us.

R. Scott Moore, Esq.
Senior Associate Attorney
Soto Law Group, P.A.
scott@sotolawgroup.com

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