Deed Information | Lee County Property Appraiser (2023)

Recorded Deeds, Errors and Omissions

From time to time, our office encounters a deed or other recorded instrument that contains errors or omissions which prevent us from processing the document. This can also cause a delay in our office recognizing the intended purpose of that document, such as splitting a parcel and changes in ownership.

We have compiled some information regarding the kinds of instruments we process and common errors we often see.

This is not meant to be a comprehensive exploration of real property transactions and instruments. Real estate transactions can be complex. Selling or purchasing property without assistance from a real estate attorney or title company can be risky. Small mistakes may take considerable time and money to correct. At our office, we rely heavily on resources widely available, especially The Florida Bar and their published Uniform Title Standards. Uniform Title Standards 2020 Revision. The Florida Bar is the organization of all lawyers licensed by the Supreme Court of Florida to practice law in the state.

Here is an excellent article published by The Florida Bar about purchasing property. Consumer Pamphlet: Buying A Home.

(Video) Lee County Tax Deed Auction for 1/4/22

NOTE: The following information is provided “as is”. The Lee County Property Appraiser’s Office (LCPA) is not responsible for the content, its accuracy, or its use. For questions regarding deeds, we strongly encourage you to seek the advice from a professional who specializes in real estate transactions.

We are not real estate attorneys or a title company. The Property Appraiser’s office is not responsible for deed defects that are not discovered by staff when processed.

Recorded Deeds

The following are the most common types of recorded deeds for real property in Florida. Here is useful resource guide to deeds, authored by The Barnes Walker Educational Series: A Deed Indeed!

  1. Warranty Deed - also known as statutory or general warranty deed. It fully warrants title to the property being conveyed against any and all claims. A title policy is typically issued separate from the deed and includes the owners name & mortgage company on Schedule A and any exemptions or limitations on Schedule B. A Warranty deed contains all the covenants and warranties available to guarantee title protection including:
    1. Quiet enjoyment – peaceful possession undisturbed by other claims of title.
    2. Further assurance – grantor / title policy underwriters will obtain and deliver any legal instrument that might be required to make the title good in the future.
    3. Warranty forever – grantor / title policy underwriters will forever be responsible for warranting the title and will defend the title and possession of said property for the grantee.
  2. Special Warranty Deed – provides only a limited warranty of title. It warrants the title but only against claims of the grantor or any other people associated with grantor (grantor’s representatives).
  3. Quit Claim Deed – provides no warranties. It conveys whatever title the grantor may have, however, the grantor is not representing that he holds title to or owns the property or that he has the right to convey. Quit Claim deeds are frequently used to help clear title problems or clouded titles to property. The grantor does not warrant to defend title or interest conveyed. A Fee Simple deed is another form of quit claim because it provides no warranties of title.
  4. Personal Representative’s Deed / Trustee’s Deed – refers to the type of person executing the deed. A personal representative is named in a Will to dispose of an estate after an owner has died. The Will legally conveys title, but a Personal Representative’s deed is used to formalize and record transfer of title. It may provide warranties like a Warranty or Special Warranty deed or not provide warranties like a Quit Claim deed.
  5. Certificate of Title – typically a county-issued document that establishes ownership of real property when at least two years of tax certificates were issued for failure to pay property taxes. The property may be encumbered, meaning someone else may have potential rights to the property. Often a quiet title civil action is required to clear all encumbrances.
  6. Notice/Development Order (DO)/Limited Development Order (LDO) – Most construction or development projects require a DO before beginning any site work and the issuance of a building permit. Each jurisdiction within Lee County has their own approval process for lot splits and combinations. Read more about the parcel split and combination process for specific requirements.

Deed Errors and Omissions

The most common deed defects or errors are described below. This is not an inclusive list of defects that are possible when preparing a deed. The following is compiled from deeds processed by the Property Appraiser’s office.

  1. Error or Omission in Legal Description. Every parcel location in Florida must be ascertained by legal description only and cannot rely on property address, Parcel Identification Number (STRAP/ Folio), nor the Property Description displayed on the LCPA website. The Property Description displayed on our website is a condensed version of the original legal description recorded in the public records. The amount of information that can be displayed on our website or in correspondence is limited by the field size. Therefore, the Property Description should not be considered a bona fide legal description when conveying property or used for any recorded document.


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    Deed Information | Lee County Property Appraiser (1)

    Often, legal descriptions are complex (using metes and bounds) and can take paragraphs or pages to accurately describe the parcel. If the legal description is too long to be included on the face of the deed, use an exhibit page. When searching for a valid legal description for a parcel, it is preferable to use descriptions found on previously recorded Warranty deeds. However, if a previous owner has split or combined a parcel after their Warranty deed was recorded, the legal description in the prior deed may no longer be an accurate representation of the current parcel configuration. A surveyor can provide a sketch and matching legal description if a historical legal description is no longer valid.

    Most legal descriptions fall into a few categories depending on whether the parcel is located in a platted subdivision or not. Parcels in platted subdivisions have simple and precise legal descriptions that reference a Block and Lot, the subdivision name and recorded document for the subdivision.


    Deed Information | Lee County Property Appraiser (2)

    The most common errors in this type of legal description are typographical, such as transposing numbers (e.g. Lot 104 typed as Lot 140), or omitting a Block, Unit, or Building number.

    Parcels not within a subdivision can be described using the Public Land Survey System (PLSS - Public Land Survey System). This is often called a sectional or quarter-quarter description.

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    Deed Information | Lee County Property Appraiser (3)

    The most common errors include omission of or incorrect Section, Township, or Range number, an incorrect fractional quantity (e.g. Half 1/2 versus Quarter 1/4 or cardinal direction (e.g. North versus South).

    Parcels not within a subdivision may also be described using a metes and bounds description.


    Deed Information | Lee County Property Appraiser (4)

    It is not unusual to see text such as LESS and EXCEPT to note the parcel size is smaller than the legal description written directly above or AND to include multiple legal descriptions combined to describe a parcel.

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    For parcels described with a metes and bounds description, often entire lines are omitted or the bearings or distances are incorrect. When the bearings or distances are incorrect, the description may not accurately form a closed parcel boundary. An example is where the starting point location (aka point of beginning) is not the ending point location, thereby creating a gap (i.e. does not close). Another example is where a bearing and distance encroaches on a neighbor’s parcel, thereby including property not owned by the Grantor.

  2. Invalid Grantor or Title Holder. The Grantor on the deed is not the current owner of record for all or some of property being conveyed and title is not simply being cleared in a Quit Claim deed. Another example is the parcel is owned as joint tenants and both tenants are not listed as grantors.

    The following newsletter article from the American Bar Association describes ownership interests and deeds: Understanding Real Property Interests and Deeds.

    Here is important information from the Florida Bar Journal about co-ownership: The Impact of Co-ownership on Florida Homestead.

Deed Error Letter

We strongly encourage you to seek guidance from legal counsel, title examiner, or insurance underwriter if you receive a letter from this office stating a recorded deed contains an error. Classifying some part of the deed contents in error may be subjective and additional information may clear up the issue with no further documents being recorded. However, a new or corrective deed may need to be recorded with Lee County Clerk of Courts to remedy the defect. If a corrective deed is recorded, the original deed will remain classified as an error by this office so that any person who searches LCPA records will understand the deed may not be a good representative to be used in future deeds. (e.g. legal description is inaccurate). Once recorded, deeds become a permanent part of the public record and cannot be unrecorded, deleted or withdrawn.

An excellent resource regarding defects in deeds is an article posted on the Florida Bar Journal web site by Stacy O. Kalmanson and Jerry Morris titled Five Tips Every Real Estate Practitioner Should Know About Defective Deeds.

(Video) Lee County Property Appraiser's Website Tour with Lynnell Sturgeon


How do I change my name on property deeds? ›

On a name change

You'll need to download and complete Form ID1, which proves your identity when applying for a name change on the title register. Send ID1 with evidence of your change of name (for example, the deed poll document, your marriage certificate or your decree absolute) and AP1 to the Land Registry.

How do I remove a deceased spouse from my deed in Florida? ›

Most often, a copy of the deceased spouse's death certificate, the notarized death affidavit, and a legal description of the property are required. Once these steps are complete, your deceased spouse will have been removed and you will be the sole owner on the deed.

How can I find out who owns a property in Florida? ›

  1. As long as you know a property's location, you can contact the county clerk's office to learn more about the owner. ...
  2. If you cannot get the owner's name or contact information from the county clerk's office, you might have better luck with the Florida Secretary of State.
20 May 2021

What is a quit claim deed form Florida? ›

A quitclaim deed in Florida is a legal document that transfers whatever title a grantor has in real property to someone else. The person receiving the property is called a grantee. The quality of title the grantee receives depends upon the title in the hands of the grantor.

What happens to house deeds when someone dies? ›

Beneficiaries or next-of-kin can then legally act as personal representatives for the deceased, meaning that they have the power and ability to then transfer ownership of the property and change the name on the deed if they so choose. They also have the power to sell the property.

Do you own a house if your name is on the deeds? ›

You own your home – either all or part of it – if your name is on a legal document called the title deeds.

What happens to a jointly owned property if one owner dies? ›

Succession of joint property

The surviving owner does become the absolute owner of the property until and unless the legal heirs of the expired owner relinquish their share of the property by a registered relinquishment deed.

What happens to a jointly owned property if one owner dies Florida? ›

Property owned in joint tenancy automatically passes to the surviving owners when one owner dies. No probate is necessary. Joint tenancy often works well when couples (married or not) acquire real estate, vehicles, bank accounts or other valuable property together.

How do I transfer property after death in Florida? ›

In most instances, there will need to be a court order to transfer the property. And in Florida, that means opening a probate. In Florida, probate is a court proceeding that is filed in the county where the deceased person last resided. The two types of probate are summary and formal.

Are property deeds public record in Florida? ›

Perform a Deed Search and Get a Copy of Your Deed For Free!

Each Florida County has a free search engine for public records. Below you can find links to each county's search engine. There are many ways to look up the deed on the county's website. You can search by “Name” of Grantor or Grantee.

Are Florida property records public? ›

According to the Florida Sunshine Law, most records generated by government entities are considered public. The law states that all persons have the right to access municipal, county, and state records. Residents are also free to inspect these records or obtain copies as preferred.

How do I do a title search on a house in Florida? ›

Go to your county's Clerk of Court website. You can search for both official records and court records there. Start with Online Search of Official Records.

How much does it cost to file a quit claim deed in Florida? ›

A quit claim deed should be filed with the Clerk of Court in the county where the property is located. This will involve taking the deed to the Clerk's office and paying the required filing fee (typically about $10.00 for a one-page quit claim deed).

Which would not have to be in a deed? ›

Which would NOT have to be in a deed? DATE: The date is not required to make a deed valid.

How much does it cost to transfer a deed in Florida? ›

Filing a Deed in Florida

The comptroller's office charges a small fee for the deed's filing in the form of a documentary stamp tax, levied at 70 cents per $100 of the sale or transfer amount. There will also be a $10 fee for the first page of the document and $8.50 for each additional page.

How much does it cost to change name on house deeds? ›

Getting the name changed on your deeds is an easy process and you do not need to involve a solicitor. Generally there is no fee to pay either. You simply need to send a letter to the Land Registry office requesting the name change, together with either the original or a certified copy of your marriage certificate.

Do you need a solicitor to change title deeds? ›

Transferring equity, regardless of whether money changes hands, requires a solicitor to make the appropriate changes to the paperwork, and to change the name on the deeds to your property.

How much does it cost to change names on Land Registry? ›

Change your name. You must send HM Land Registry an application to change the register when you change your name. You do not have to pay anything to do this.

How long does it take to change name on Land Registry? ›

The Land Registry recently advised that updating the register to add a mortgage or change ownership can take around 4 to 6 weeks, whilst creating a first registration, transfer of part, or a new lease is likely to take anywhere between 6 to 12 months.


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