MARKETABLE RECORD TITLE ACT (“MRTA”)

WHAT IS MRTA?

MRTA is a recording act that removes defects and interests in title that is designed to extinguish stale claims and ancient defects against title, enhance marketability of title, and simplify title examination.

DO I MEET THE STANDARDS FOR MRTA?

To meet the standards for MRTA you must identify the root of title. Root of title means any title transaction purporting to create or transfer the estate claimed by any person and which is the last title transaction to have been recorded at least 30 years prior to the time when marketability is being determined. The root of title must also describe the interest to be conveyed.

A title transaction is any recorded instrument or court proceeding which affects title to any estate or interest in land and which describes the land sufficiently to identify its location and boundaries.

WHAT IS THE EFFECTIVE DATE OF A ROOT OF TITLE?

The effective date of the root of title is the date on which it was recorded.

ARE MY RIGHTS AFFECTED BY MRTA?

Generally, under MRTA, a marketable record title is free and clear of all estates, interests, claims or charges the existence of which depends upon any act, title transaction, event or omission that occurred before the effective date of the root of title. All such estates, interests, claims, or charges are declared to be null and void.

However, MRTA specifically provides exceptions for the following rights:
(1) Interests that were disclosed by or inherent in the root of title.
(2) Interests that are preserved by filing notice.
(3) Rights of any person in possession.
(4) Interests that were recorded before the root of title.
(5) Recorded or unrecorded easements or rights that appear in documentary evidence upon which title is based.
(6) Rights of any person in whose name the land is assessed on the county tax rolls.
(7) State title to lands beneath navigable waters acquired by virtue of sovereignty.
(8) An environmental restriction or covenant recorded pursuant to chapter 376 or chapter 403.
(9) Any right, title, or interest held by the Board of Trustees of the Internal Improvement Trust Fund, any water management district created under chapter 373, or the United States.

*Courts have also added several exceptions to MRTA.


PROTECTING COVENANTS AND RESTRICTIONS FROM THE MARKETABLE RECORD TITLE ACT
HOW DO I PRESERVE AN INTEREST IN LAND? HOW CAN A HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION PRESERVE AND PROTECT A COVENANT OR RESTRICTION FROM EXTINGUISHMENT BY MRTA?

A person claiming an interest in land or a homeowners’ association can preserve a covenant or restriction from extinguishment by filing for record a written notice. This notice must be filed within the 30-year period immediately following the effective date of the root of title. The notice preserves such claim of right or such covenant or restriction or portion of such covenant or restriction for up to 30 years after filing the notice unless the notice is filed again.

DO I NEED TO FILE A NOTICE TO PROTECT MY OWN MARKETABLE RECORD TITLE?

No. It is not necessary for the owner of marketable record title to file a notice to protect his or her marketable record title.

HOW DOES MY DISABILITY AFFECT THIS PROCESS?

A person’s disability or lack of knowledge of any kind may not delay the commencement of or suspend the running of the 30-year period. Such notice may be filed for record by the claimant or by any other person acting on behalf of a claimant who is under a disability, unable to assert a claim on his or her behalf, or one of a class, but whose identity cannot be established or is uncertain at the time of filing such notice of claim for record.

ARE THERE ADDITIONAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A HOMEOWNERS’ ASSOCIATION?

Yes. A homeowners’ association may only file a notice if the preservation of such covenant or restriction or portion of such covenant or restriction is approved by at least two-thirds of the members of the board of directors of an incorporated homeowners’ association at a meeting for which a notice, stating the meeting’s time and place and containing the statement of marketable title action described in 712.06(1)(b), was mailed or hand delivered to members of the homeowners’ association at least 7 days before such meeting. The homeowners’ association is not required to provide additional notice.

WHAT MUST BE INCLUDED IN THE NOTICE?

The notice must contain:
(1) The name or description of the claimant or homeowners’ association desiring to preserve any covenant or restriction;
(2) The name and particular post office address of the person filing the claim or the homeowners’ association; AND
(3) The name and post office address of either:
a. An owner; OR
b. The person in whose name said property is assessed on the last completed tax assessment roll of the county at the time of filing, who is treated as an owner for the purpose of notice.

If a homeowners’ association is filing the notice, then the requirements in section (3) above may be satisfied by attaching to and recording with the notice an affidavit affirming that the board of directors of the homeowners’ association mailed or hand delivered a Statement of Marketable Title Action to the members of that association.

The Statement of Marketable Title Action described above can be found here:
http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&Search_String=&URL=0700-0799/0712/Sections/0712.06.html

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