Do I just walk up, knock on the door and tell them you’re in my house? Start paying rent or leave? How well do you think that will go over?


real estate investing pensacola fl


Like many states, Florida is a tax deed state, meaning, if you own the tax deed (or win it at the county tax deed auction), under FL Statue you have the right to take immediate possession. Most folks tend to purchase tax deeds where the property is unoccupied. I now understand why this can be an issue, but in my first experience, so far/fingers crossed, my first tax deed auction purchase was occupied and it has gone extremely well.
Quick Details:

  • Yes, this was my first tax deed purchase – Pensacola property in Escambia County
  • I did very little due diligence pre-auction (not good and certainly not advisable, I was lucky)
  • Mobile Home Trailer in a class C neighborhood
  • From several pre-auction drive byes, I could not tell if the property was occupied or not; a call to the utility company let me know power was being paid (of course they wouldn’t give me any details by whom)
  • Post Auction (After I paid for the property!) I discovered the occupying party was not on the title, he had lived there for 15+ years (discovered this from a Professionally paid title search – Always use a professional )
Being as it was my first tax deed auction purchase, the Pensacola property being occupied by an unknown entity, and my natural behavior to avoid conflict (especially one where I may be shot by Shotgun Sally), I didn’t know what to do. Do I just walk up, knock on the door and tell them you’re in my house? Start paying rent or leave? How well do you think that will go over?
A while back I posted about the importance of having a lawyer on your team and here is a great example of why. My first thought was just to evict the occupant. Per my lawyer’s advice, I cannot evict the current occupant as there is no lease agreement to evict on. This left me with 2 real options:
  • I can attempt to perform an ejectment notice – lengthier than an eviction and WAY more costly (estimated around $3,000).
  • Have the occupant sign a lease and become my tenant.
I like option B MUCH better. After all, supposedly this occupant had been there for 15+ years and clearly he was settled in by the looks of the place. It was going to cost me thousands of dollars to clean it up and even more to find a new tenant. But with the fear of being shot, how do I make contact to see if he’s open to it? Via a Certified US Letter, that’s how. And that’s exactly what I did.

Contact me via the form on this website or email [ ] and I’ll send you a copy of the letter I sent. 
Through the letter I explained and provided copies of the tax deed auction purchase, I was interested in keeping him as a tenant, but if he didn’t contact me within 10 days of receipt, I’d be forced to take legal action to remove him from the premises. In approx. 10 days he called me up, we worked out a deal and he signed a lease. This could not have went any better.
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Will I continue to invest in tax deed sales? Yes, but the next go round will institute more pre-auction due diligence. I really was lucky here. As a matter of fact, I placed bids for additional tax deeds in Pensacola the month immediately following this one, but did not win those auctions.

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