Sunday, July 13, 2014

An Ideal Kind of Adverse Possession in Florida

Polk County, Florida sits in the middle of the state between Tampa Bay and Cape Canaveral.  It has a lot of wide open spaces in it. 

You can find the Adverse Possession (AP) filings for Polk County here:



I browsed around and found several AP Notices filed by Layne and Cary Lightsey, including the below parcels.  Click them and look at the filings.  These ranchers seem bent on gobbling up a bunch of land.

Search these on the map:


You'll soon see that as a real pain in the neck.  I don't think it works right because it doesn't show the actual parcels, but does show the Range, Township, and Section.

Notice the  approximate area of 293024...13040:


Another part of the county property appraiser's web site shows Plat Maps where I found the actual parcel.  So it looks like an area of sinkholes, scrub brush, and pasture fit for cattle grazing and citrus groves in the area north of Florida 60 & Sam Keen Rd, Lake Wales, Florida 33898.  The Lightseys listed their address as 2330 Sam Keen Rd.  Google Maps does not show any house in that area, so they probably own some adjacent property. 

Maybe they could build a lean-to on any one of the areas and live there, and the sheriff would do NOTHING about it.  Pretty soon they'll have unfettered claim to the property.  They probably have fenced it and use it to graze their cattle.

Any bona fide squatter could do the same.  Wouldn't THAT be fun? THAT's the kind of land would-be adverse possessors should seek out.

I note that a lot of the plat map does not show parcel numbers.  Does that mean the county or state owns the land, or it is just unclaimed?  Who knows?  If government owns it, you cannot take adverse possession of it.  But maybe some investors own it and lost interest or went broke.  Lightseys probably do their research, try to find the owner, and if unsuccessful, file an AP notice with the property appraiser.  In 7 years of paying the taxes and continuously occupying the property, they become adverse possessors and the owner loses the right to remove them from the land.

As I see it, people looking for land should do this all over America.  They could start by looking for land with unpaid taxes.  That could include farm or ranch land for which the county tax collector has auctioned the tax liens.  A land hunter could buy the liens from investors, and then keep paying taxes as part of an AP effort.

Such land hunters need to become familiar with your state's AP laws, and consult a competent attorney to find out for sure what they mean.

Bob Hurt
727 669 5511



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