Types of Deeds in Florida
In Florida, there are a variety of deeds that serve to convey title to a property. The main difference between these types of deeds is the extent to which the seller promises or covenants certain facts with respect to the status of the property. Therefore, the type of deed which is executed impacts the level of protection the buyer receives. It is important to understand these differences to ensure the appropriate deed is executed based on each specific situation. From the most covenants to the least, the following is a brief discussion on general warranty deeds, special warranty deeds, and quitclaim deeds.
General Warranty Deed
This type of deed provides the buyer the highest level of protection because it contains covenants that certain facts are true. The following are the covenants of title contained within a general warranty deed:
Covenant of Seisin- the promise that the seller owns the property being sold.
Covenant of the Right to Convey- the promise that the seller has the right to convey the property.
Covenant Against Encumbrances- the promise that the property is free of any liens or encumbrances.
Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment- the promise that the buyer will be able to possess the property without third-party claims to the title.
Covenant of General Warranty- the seller’s promise to protect the buyer against any claims to the title.
Notably, these covenants are given by the seller on behalf of all the prior owners of the property.
Special Warranty Deed
This deed provides less protection to the buyer than a general warranty deed. Although a special warranty deed contains the same covenants as a general warranty deed the covenants only apply to the period of time in which the seller owned the property.
This deed conveys the property without the grantor providing any covenants, including whether the grantor has an ownership interest in the property at all. As this deed provides the least amount of protection for the grantee, it is typically used to transfer ownership between parties that have a prior relationship. Quitclaim deeds are commonly used to convey property to family members, to a revocable living trust, to a former spouse as part of a divorce settlement, and to a business entity. They are also frequently used to cure title defects, such as to correct a scrivener’s error in the legal description of a property.
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