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TITLE VIII

LIMITATIONS

Last update: 2013-11-01


  • Limitations Of Actions; Adverse Possession
  • Version 2013-11-01
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  • Version 2011-11-08

Chapter 95

LIMITATIONS OF ACTIONS; ADVERSE POSSESSION

95.011 - Applicability

A civil action or proceeding, called “action” in this chapter, including one brought by the state, a public officer, a political subdivision of the state, a municipality, a public corporation or body corporate, or any agency or officer of any of them, or any other governmental authority, shall be barred unless begun within the time prescribed in this chapter or, if a different time is prescribed elsewhere in these statutes, within the time prescribed elsewhere.


History.- s. 1, ch. 74-382; s. 1, ch. 77-174.

95.03 - Contracts shortening time

Any provision in a contract fixing the period of time within which an action arising out of the contract may be begun at a time less than that provided by the applicable statute of limitations is void.


History.- ss. 1, 2, ch. 6465, 1913; RGS 2931; CGL 4651; s. 2, ch. 74-382.

95.031 - Computation of time

Except as provided in subsection (2) and in s. 95.051 and elsewhere in these statutes, the time within which an action shall be begun under any statute of limitations runs from the time the cause of action accrues.
  • (1) A cause of action accrues when the last element constituting the cause of action occurs. For the purposes of this chapter, the last element constituting a cause of action on an obligation or liability founded on a negotiable or nonnegotiable note payable on demand or after date with no specific maturity date specified in the note, and the last element constituting a cause of action against any endorser, guarantor, or other person secondarily liable on any such obligation or liability founded on any such note, is the first written demand for payment, notwithstanding that the endorser, guarantor, or other person secondarily liable has executed a separate writing evidencing such liability.

  • (2)(a) An action founded upon fraud under s. 95.11(3), including constructive fraud, must be begun within the period prescribed in this chapter, with the period running from the time the facts giving rise to the cause of action were discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, instead of running from any date prescribed elsewhere in s. 95.11(3), but in any event an action for fraud under s. 95.11(3) must be begun within 12 years after the date of the commission of the alleged fraud, regardless of the date the fraud was or should have been discovered.

    • (b) An action for products liability under s. 95.11(3) must be begun within the period prescribed in this chapter, with the period running from the date that the facts giving rise to the cause of action were discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, rather than running from any other date prescribed elsewhere in s. 95.11(3), except as provided within this subsection. Under no circumstances may a claimant commence an action for products liability, including a wrongful death action or any other claim arising from personal injury or property damage caused by a product, to recover for harm allegedly caused by a product with an expected useful life of 10 years or less, if the harm was caused by exposure to or use of the product more than 12 years after delivery of the product to its first purchaser or lessee who was not engaged in the business of selling or leasing the product or of using the product as a component in the manufacture of another product. All products, except those included within subparagraph 1. or subparagraph 2., are conclusively presumed to have an expected useful life of 10 years or less.

      • 1. Aircraft used in commercial or contract carrying of passengers or freight, vessels of more than 100 gross tons, railroad equipment used in commercial or contract carrying of passengers or freight, and improvements to real property, including elevators and escalators, are not subject to the statute of repose provided within this subsection.

      • 2. Any product not listed in subparagraph 1., which the manufacturer specifically warranted, through express representation or labeling, as having an expected useful life exceeding 10 years, has an expected useful life commensurate with the time period indicated by the warranty or label. Under such circumstances, no action for products liability may be brought after the expected useful life of the product, or more than 12 years after delivery of the product to its first purchaser or lessee who was not engaged in the business of selling or leasing the product or of using the product as a component in the manufacture of another product, whichever is later.

      • 3. With regard to those products listed in subparagraph 1., except for escalators, elevators, and improvements to real property, no action for products liability may be brought more than 20 years after delivery of the product to its first purchaser or lessor who was not engaged in the business of selling or leasing the product or of using the product as a component in the manufacture of another product. However, if the manufacturer specifically warranted, through express representation or labeling, that the product has an expected useful life exceeding 20 years, the repose period shall be the time period warranted in representations or label.

    • (c) The repose period prescribed in paragraph (b) does not apply if the claimant was exposed to or used the product within the repose period, but an injury caused by such exposure or use did not manifest itself until after expiration of the repose period.

    • (d) The repose period prescribed within paragraph (b) is tolled for any period during which the manufacturer through its officers, directors, partners, or managing agents had actual knowledge that the product was defective in the manner alleged by the claimant and took affirmative steps to conceal the defect. Any claim of concealment under this section shall be made with specificity and must be based upon substantial factual and legal support. Maintaining the confidentiality of trade secrets does not constitute concealment under this section.

History.- s. 3, ch. 74-382; s. 1, ch. 75-234; s. 2, ch. 77-54; ss. 1, 2, ch. 78-289; s. 1, ch. 78-418; s. 1, ch. 80-280; s. 44, ch. 81-259; s. 10, ch. 85-80; s. 2, ch. 86-272; s. 2, ch. 90-105; s. 11, ch. 99-225; s. 20, ch. 2003-154.

95.04 - Promise to pay barred debt

An acknowledgment of, or promise to pay, a debt barred by a statute of limitations must be in writing and signed by the person sought to be charged.


History.- s. 1, ch. 4375, 1895; GS 1717; RGS 2930; CGL 4650; s. 6, ch. 74-382.

95.051 - When limitations tolled

  • (1) The running of the time under any statute of limitations except ss. 95.281, 95.35, and 95.36 is tolled by:

    • (a) Absence from the state of the person to be sued.

    • (b) Use by the person to be sued of a false name that is unknown to the person entitled to sue so that process cannot be served on the person to be sued.

    • (c) Concealment in the state of the person to be sued so that process cannot be served on him or her.

    • (d) The adjudicated incapacity, before the cause of action accrued, of the person entitled to sue. In any event, the action must be begun within 7 years after the act, event, or occurrence giving rise to the cause of action.

    • (e) Voluntary payments by the alleged father of the child in paternity actions during the time of the payments.

    • (f) The payment of any part of the principal or interest of any obligation or liability founded on a written instrument.

    • (g) The pendency of any arbitral proceeding pertaining to a dispute that is the subject of the action.

    • (h) The period of an intervening bankruptcy tolls the expiration period of a tax certificate under s. 197.482 and any proceeding or process under chapter 197.

    • (i) The minority or previously adjudicated incapacity of the person entitled to sue during any period of time in which a parent, guardian, or guardian ad litem does not exist, has an interest adverse to the minor or incapacitated person, or is adjudicated to be incapacitated to sue; except with respect to the statute of limitations for a claim for medical malpractice as provided in s. 95.11. In any event, the action must be begun within 7 years after the act, event, or occurrence giving rise to the cause of action.

    Paragraphs (a)-(c) shall not apply if service of process or service by publication can be made in a manner sufficient to confer jurisdiction to grant the relief sought. This section shall not be construed to limit the ability of any person to initiate an action within 30 days after the lifting of an automatic stay issued in a bankruptcy action as is provided in 11 U.S.C. s. 108(c).

  • (2) A disability or other reason does not toll the running of any statute of limitations except those specified in this section, s. 95.091, the Florida Probate Code, or the Florida Guardianship Law.

History.- s. 16, Nov. 10, 1828; ss. 14, 17, ch. 1869, 1872; RS 1284, 1285; GS 1715, 1716; RGS 2928, 2929; CGL 4648, 4649; s. 4, ch. 74-382; s. 2, ch. 75-234; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 3, ch. 86-266; s. 1, ch. 89-26; s. 1, ch. 90-105; s. 519, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 2011-151.

Note.- Former ss. 95.05, 95.07.


95.091 - Limitation on actions to collect taxes

  • (1)(a) Except for taxes for which certificates have been sold, taxes enumerated in s. 72.011, or tax liens issued under s. 196.161 or s. 443.141, any tax lien granted by law to the state or any of its political subdivisions, any municipality, any public corporation or body politic, or any other entity having authority to levy and collect taxes expires 5 years after the date the tax is assessed or becomes delinquent, whichever is later. An action to collect any tax may not be commenced after the expiration of the lien securing the payment of the tax.

    • (b) Any tax lien granted by law to the state or any of its political subdivisions for any tax enumerated in s. 72.011 or any tax lien imposed under s. 196.161 expires 20 years after the last date the tax may be assessed, after the tax becomes delinquent, or after the filing of a tax warrant, whichever is later. An action to collect any tax enumerated in s. 72.011 may not be commenced after the expiration of the lien securing the payment of the tax.

  • (2) If a lien to secure the payment of a tax is not provided by law, an action to collect the tax may not be commenced 1after 5 years following the date the tax is assessed or becomes delinquent, whichever is later.

  • (3)(a) With the exception of taxes levied under chapter 198 and tax adjustments made pursuant to ss. 220.23 and 624.50921, the Department of Revenue may determine and assess the amount of any tax, penalty, or interest due under any tax enumerated in s. 72.011 which it has authority to administer and the Department of Business and Professional Regulation may determine and assess the amount of any tax, penalty, or interest due under any tax enumerated in s. 72.011 which it has authority to administer:

    • 1.a. For taxes due before July 1, 1999, within 5 years after the date the tax is due, any return with respect to the tax is due, or such return is filed, whichever occurs later; and for taxes due on or after July 1, 1999, within 3 years after the date the tax is due, any return with respect to the tax is due, or such return is filed, whichever occurs later;

      • b. Effective July 1, 2002, notwithstanding sub-subparagraph a., within 3 years after the date the tax is due, any return with respect to the tax is due, or such return is filed, whichever occurs later;

    • 2. For taxes due before July 1, 1999, within 6 years after the date the taxpayer makes a substantial underpayment of tax or files a substantially incorrect return;

    • 3. At any time while the right to a refund or credit of the tax is available to the taxpayer;

    • 4. For taxes due before July 1, 1999, at any time after the taxpayer filed a grossly false return;

    • 5. At any time after the taxpayer failed to make any required payment of the tax, failed to file a required return, or filed a fraudulent return, except that for taxes due on or after July 1, 1999, the limitation prescribed in subparagraph 1. applies if the taxpayer disclosed in writing the tax liability to the department before the department contacts the taxpayer; or

    • 6. In any case in which a refund of tax has erroneously been made for any reason:

      • a. For refunds made before July 1, 1999, within 5 years after making such refund; and

      • b. For refunds made on or after July 1, 1999, within 3 years after making such refund,

      or at any time after making such refund if it appears that any part of the refund was induced by fraud or the misrepresentation of a material fact.

  • (b) For the purpose of this paragraph, a tax return filed before the last day prescribed by law, including any extension thereof, is deemed to have been filed on such last day, and payments made before the last day prescribed by law are deemed to have been paid on such last day.

  • (4) If administrative or judicial proceedings for review of the tax assessment or collection are initiated by a taxpayer within the period of limitation prescribed in this section, the running of the period is tolled during the pendency of the proceeding. Administrative proceedings include taxpayer protest proceedings initiated under s. 213.21 and department rules.

  • History.- s. 20, ch. 74-382; s. 37, ch. 85-342; s. 49, ch. 87-6; ss. 29, 66, ch. 87-101; s. 4, ch. 88-119; s. 19, ch. 92-315; s. 25, ch. 94-353; s. 1, ch. 99-239; s. 10, ch. 2000-151; s. 2, ch. 2000-355; s. 1, ch. 2004-26; s. 1, ch. 2005-280; s. 4, ch. 2010-90; s. 2, ch. 2010-138.1

    Note.- As amended by s. 2, ch. 2010-138. The amendment by s. 4, ch. 2010-90, used the language “5 years after the date” instead of “after 5 years following the date.”


    95.10 - Cause of action arising in another state

    When the cause of action arose in another state or territory of the United States, or in a foreign country, and its laws forbid the maintenance of the action because of lapse of time, no action shall be maintained in this state.


    History.- s. 18, ch. 1869, 1872; RS 1295; GS 1726; RGS 2940; CGL 4664; s. 5, ch. 74-382.

    95.11 - Limitations other than for the recovery of real property

    Actions other than for recovery of real property shall be commenced as follows:
    • (1) WITHIN TWENTY YEARS.- An action on a judgment or decree of a court of record in this state.

    • (2) WITHIN FIVE YEARS.-

      • (a) An action on a judgment or decree of any court, not of record, of this state or any court of the United States, any other state or territory in the United States, or a foreign country.

      • 1(b) A legal or equitable action on a contract, obligation, or liability founded on a written instrument, except for an action to enforce a claim against a payment bond, which shall be governed by the applicable provisions of paragraph (5)(e), s. 255.05(10), s. 337.18(1), or s. 713.23(1)(e), and except for an action for a deficiency judgment governed by paragraph (5)(h).

      • (c) An action to foreclose a mortgage.

      • (d) An action alleging a willful violation of s. 448.110.

      • (e) Notwithstanding paragraph (b), an action for breach of a property insurance contract, with the period running from the date of loss.

    • (3) WITHIN FOUR YEARS.-

      • (a) An action founded on negligence.

      • (b) An action relating to the determination of paternity, with the time running from the date the child reaches the age of majority.

      • (c) An action founded on the design, planning, or construction of an improvement to real property, with the time running from the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, whichever date is latest; except that, when the action involves a latent defect, the time runs from the time the defect is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. In any event, the action must be commenced within 10 years after the date of actual possession by the owner, the date of the issuance of a certificate of occupancy, the date of abandonment of construction if not completed, or the date of completion or termination of the contract between the professional engineer, registered architect, or licensed contractor and his or her employer, whichever date is latest.

      • (d) An action to recover public money or property held by a public officer or employee, or former public officer or employee, and obtained during, or as a result of, his or her public office or employment.

      • (e) An action for injury to a person founded on the design, manufacture, distribution, or sale of personal property that is not permanently incorporated in an improvement to real property, including fixtures.

      • (f) An action founded on a statutory liability.

      • (g) An action for trespass on real property.

      • (h) An action for taking, detaining, or injuring personal property.

      • (i) An action to recover specific personal property.

      • (j) A legal or equitable action founded on fraud.

      • (k) A legal or equitable action on a contract, obligation, or liability not founded on a written instrument, including an action for the sale and delivery of goods, wares, and merchandise, and on store accounts.

      • (l) An action to rescind a contract.

      • (m) An action for money paid to any governmental authority by mistake or inadvertence.

      • (n) An action for a statutory penalty or forfeiture.

      • (o) An action for assault, battery, false arrest, malicious prosecution, malicious interference, false imprisonment, or any other intentional tort, except as provided in subsections (4), (5), and (7).

      • (p) Any action not specifically provided for in these statutes.

      • (q) An action alleging a violation, other than a willful violation, of s. 448.110.

    • (4) WITHIN TWO YEARS.-

      • (a) An action for professional malpractice, other than medical malpractice, whether founded on contract or tort; provided that the period of limitations shall run from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence. However, the limitation of actions herein for professional malpractice shall be limited to persons in privity with the professional.

      • (b) An action for medical malpractice shall be commenced within 2 years from the time the incident giving rise to the action occurred or within 2 years from the time the incident is discovered, or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence; however, in no event shall the action be commenced later than 4 years from the date of the incident or occurrence out of which the cause of action accrued, except that this 4-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday. An “action for medical malpractice” is defined as a claim in tort or in contract for damages because of the death, injury, or monetary loss to any person arising out of any medical, dental, or surgical diagnosis, treatment, or care by any provider of health care. The limitation of actions within this subsection shall be limited to the health care provider and persons in privity with the provider of health care. In those actions covered by this paragraph in which it can be shown that fraud, concealment, or intentional misrepresentation of fact prevented the discovery of the injury the period of limitations is extended forward 2 years from the time that the injury is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, but in no event to exceed 7 years from the date the incident giving rise to the injury occurred, except that this 7-year period shall not bar an action brought on behalf of a minor on or before the child’s eighth birthday. This paragraph shall not apply to actions for which ss. 766.301-766.316 provide the exclusive remedy.

      • (c) An action to recover wages or overtime or damages or penalties concerning payment of wages and overtime.

      • (d) An action for wrongful death.

      • (e) An action founded upon a violation of any provision of chapter 517, with the period running from the time the facts giving rise to the cause of action were discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence, but not more than 5 years from the date such violation occurred.

      • (f) An action for personal injury caused by contact with or exposure to phenoxy herbicides while serving either as a civilian or as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States during the period January 1, 1962, through May 7, 1975; the period of limitations shall run from the time the cause of action is discovered or should have been discovered with the exercise of due diligence.

      • (g) An action for libel or slander.

    • (5) WITHIN ONE YEAR.-

      • (a) An action for specific performance of a contract.

      • (b) An action to enforce an equitable lien arising from the furnishing of labor, services, or material for the improvement of real property.

      • (c) An action to enforce rights under the Uniform Commercial Code- Letters of Credit, chapter 675.

      • (d) An action against any guaranty association and its insured, with the period running from the date of the deadline for filing claims in the order of liquidation.

      • (e) Except for actions governed by s. 255.05(10), s. 337.18(1), or s. 713.23(1)(e), an action to enforce any claim against a payment bond on which the principal is a contractor, subcontractor, or sub-subcontractor as defined in s. 713.01, for private work as well as public work, from the last furnishing of labor, services, or materials or from the last furnishing of labor, services, or materials by the contractor if the contractor is the principal on a bond on the same construction project, whichever is later.

      • (f) Except for actions described in subsection (8), a petition for extraordinary writ, other than a petition challenging a criminal conviction, filed by or on behalf of a prisoner as defined in s. 57.085.

      • (g) Except for actions described in subsection (8), an action brought by or on behalf of a prisoner, as defined in s. 57.085, relating to the conditions of the prisoner’s confinement.

      • 1(h) An action to enforce a claim of a deficiency related to a note secured by a mortgage against a residential property that is a one-family to four-family dwelling unit. The limitations period shall commence on the day after the certificate is issued by the clerk of court or the day after the mortgagee accepts a deed in lieu of foreclosure.

    • (6) LACHES.- Laches shall bar any action unless it is commenced within the time provided for legal actions concerning the same subject matter regardless of lack of knowledge by the person sought to be held liable that the person alleging liability would assert his or her rights and whether the person sought to be held liable is injured or prejudiced by the delay. This subsection shall not affect application of laches at an earlier time in accordance with law.

    • (7) FOR INTENTIONAL TORTS BASED ON ABUSE.- An action founded on alleged abuse, as defined in s. 39.01, s. 415.102, or s. 984.03, or incest, as defined in s. 826.04, may be commenced at any time within 7 years after the age of majority, or within 4 years after the injured person leaves the dependency of the abuser, or within 4 years from the time of discovery by the injured party of both the injury and the causal relationship between the injury and the abuse, whichever occurs later.

    • (8) WITHIN 30 DAYS FOR ACTIONS CHALLENGING CORRECTIONAL DISCIPLINARY PROCEEDINGS.- Any court action challenging prisoner disciplinary proceedings conducted by the Department of Corrections pursuant to s. 944.28(2) must be commenced within 30 days after final disposition of the prisoner disciplinary proceedings through the administrative grievance process under chapter 33, Florida Administrative Code. Any action challenging prisoner disciplinary proceedings shall be barred by the court unless it is commenced within the time period provided by this section.

    • (9) SEXUAL BATTERY OFFENSES ON VICTIMS UNDER AGE 16.- An action related to an act constituting a violation of s. 794.011 involving a victim who was under the age of 16 at the time of the act may be commenced at any time. This subsection applies to any such action other than one which would have been time barred on or before July 1, 2010.

    • (10) FOR INTENTIONAL TORTS RESULTING IN DEATH FROM ACTS DESCRIBED IN S. 782.04 OR S. 782.07.- Notwithstanding paragraph (4)(d), an action for wrongful death seeking damages authorized under s. 768.21 brought against a natural person for an intentional tort resulting in death from acts described in s. 782.04 or s. 782.07 may be commenced at any time. This subsection shall not be construed to require an arrest, the filing of formal criminal charges, or a conviction for a violation of s. 782.04 or s. 782.07 as a condition for filing a civil action.

    • (11) COURT COSTS AND FINES.- Notwithstanding subsection (1), an action to collect court costs, fees, or fines owed to the state may be commenced at any time.

    History.- s. 10, ch. 1869, 1872; s. 1, ch. 3900, 1889; RS 1294; GS 1725; s. 10, ch. 7838, 1919; RGS 2939; CGL 4663; s. 1, ch. 21892, 1943; s. 7, ch. 24337, 1947; s. 24, ch. 57-1; s. 1, ch. 59-188; s. 1, ch. 67-284; s. 1, ch. 71-254; s. 30, ch. 73-333; s. 7, ch. 74-382; s. 7, ch. 75-9; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 11, ch. 78-435; s. 1, ch. 80-322; s. 34, ch. 83-38; s. 1, ch. 84-13; s. 1, ch. 85-63; s. 139, ch. 86-220; s. 1, ch. 86-231; s. 1, ch. 86-272; s. 1, ch. 88-397; s. 20, ch. 90-109; s. 1, ch. 92-102; s. 520, ch. 95-147; s. 2, ch. 95-283; s. 4, ch. 96-106; s. 1, ch. 96-167; s. 15, ch. 98-280; s. 2, ch. 99-5; s. 12, ch. 99-137; s. 2, ch. 2001-211; s. 15, ch. 2005-230; s. 1, ch. 2005-353; s. 1, ch. 2006-145; s. 2, ch. 2010-45; s. 1, ch. 2010-54; s. 1, ch. 2011-39; s. 13, ch. 2012-100; s. 1, ch. 2012-211; s. 1, ch. 2013-137.1

    Note.- A. Section 2, ch. 2013-137, provides that “[t]he amendments made by this act to s. 95.11, Florida Statutes, apply to any action commenced on or after July 1, 2013, regardless of when the cause of action accrued. However, any action that would not have been barred under s. 95.11(2)(b), Florida Statutes 2012, before the effective date of this act must be commenced within 5 years after the action accrued or by July 1, 2014, whichever occurs first.”B. Section 8, ch. 2013-137, provides in pertinent part that “[t]he Legislature finds that this act is remedial in nature and applies to all mortgages encumbering real property and all promissory notes secured by a mortgage, whether executed before, on, or after the effective date of this act.”C. Section 9, ch. 2013-137, provides that “[t]he Supreme Court is requested to amend the Florida Rules of Civil Procedures to provide expedited foreclosure proceedings in conformity with this act and is requested to develop and publish forms for use in such expedited proceedings.”


    95.111 - Limitations after death of a person served by publication

    In all suits or actions when a decree pro confesso or default was duly entered against a defendant on whom constructive service was duly obtained and the defendant died after the entry of the decree pro confesso or default and before the entry of final decree or judgment, and the death was not suggested to the court before the entry of the final decree or judgment, the final decree or judgment shall be binding and conclusive against persons claiming under the deceased defendant 1 year after its date as if the death had been suggested and the suit or action revived or continued against the proper parties.


    History.- s. 1, ch. 11996, 1927; CGL 4947; s. 46, ch. 67-254; s. 21, ch. 74-382.

    Note.- Former s. 62.08.


    95.12 - Real property actions

    No action to recover real property or its possession shall be maintained unless the person seeking recovery or the person’s ancestor, predecessor, or grantor was seized or possessed of the property within 7 years before the commencement of the action.


    History.- s. 2, ch. 1869, 1872; RS 1287; GS 1718; RGS 2932; CGL 4652; s. 8, ch. 74-382; s. 521, ch. 95-147.

    95.13 - Real property actions; possession by legal owner presumed

    In every action to recover real property or its possession, the person establishing legal title to the property shall be presumed to have been possessed of it within the time prescribed by law. The occupation of the property by any other person shall be in subordination to the legal title unless the property was possessed adversely to the legal title for 7 years before the commencement of the action.


    History.- s. 4, ch. 1869, 1872; RS 1289; GS 1720; RGS 2934; CGL 4654; s. 9, ch. 74-382.

    95.14 - Real property actions; limitation upon action founded upon title

    No cause of action or defense to an action founded on the title to real property, or to rents or service from it, shall be maintained unless:
    • (1) The person prosecuting the action or making the defense, or under whose title the action is prosecuted or the defense is made, or the ancestor, predecessor, or grantor of the person, was seized or possessed of the real property within 7 years before commencement of the action; or

    • (2) Title to the real property was derived from the United States or the state within 7 years before commencement of the action. The time under this subsection shall not begin to run until the conveyance of the title from the state or the United States.

    History.- s. 3, ch. 1869, 1872; RS 1288; GS 1719; RGS 2933; CGL 4653; s. 10, ch. 74-382.

    95.16 - Real property actions; adverse possession under color of title

    • (1) When the occupant, or those under whom the occupant claims, entered into possession of real property under a claim of title exclusive of any other right, founding the claim on a written instrument as being a conveyance of the property, or on a decree or judgment, and has for 7 years been in continued possession of the property included in the instrument, decree, or judgment, the property is held adversely. If the property is divided into lots, the possession of one lot shall not be deemed a possession of any other lot of the same tract. Adverse possession commencing after December 31, 1945, shall not be deemed adverse possession under color of title until the instrument upon which the claim of title is founded is recorded in the office of the clerk of the circuit court of the county where the property is located.

    • (2) For the purpose of this section, property is deemed possessed in any of the following cases:

      • (a) When it has been usually cultivated or improved.

      • (b) When it has been protected by a substantial enclosure. All land protected by the enclosure must be included within the description of the property in the written instrument, judgment, or decree. If only a portion of the land protected by the enclosure is included within the description of the property in the written instrument, judgment, or decree, only that portion is deemed possessed.

      • (c) When, although not enclosed, it has been used for the supply of fuel or fencing timber for husbandry or for the ordinary use of the occupant.

      • (d) When a known lot or single farm has been partly improved, the part that has not been cleared or enclosed according to the usual custom of the county is to be considered as occupied for the same length of time as the part improved or cultivated.

    History.- s. 5, ch. 1869, 1872; RS 1290; GS 1721; RGS 2935; CGL 4655; s. 1, ch. 19253, 1939; s. 1, ch. 22897, 1945; ss. 11, 12, ch. 74-382; s. 1, ch. 77-174; s. 1, ch. 87-194; s. 522, ch. 95-147.

    95.18 - Real property actions; adverse possession without color of title

    • (1) When the possessor has been in actual continued possession of real property for 7 years under a claim of title exclusive of any other right, but not founded on a written instrument, judgment, or decree, or when those under whom the possessor claims meet these criteria, the property actually possessed is held adversely if the person claiming adverse possession:

      • (a) Paid, subject to s. 197.3335, all outstanding taxes and matured installments of special improvement liens levied against the property by the state, county, and municipality within 1 year after entering into possession;

      • (b) Made a return, as required under subsection (3), of the property by proper legal description to the property appraiser of the county where it is located within 30 days after complying with paragraph (a); and

      • (c) Has subsequently paid, subject to s. 197.3335, all taxes and matured installments of special improvement liens levied against the property by the state, county, and municipality for all remaining years necessary to establish a claim of adverse possession.

    • (2) For the purpose of this section, property is deemed to be possessed if the property has been:

      • (a) Protected by substantial enclosure; or

      • (b) Cultivated, maintained, or improved in a usual manner.

    • (3) A person claiming adverse possession under this section must make a return of the property by providing to the property appraiser a uniform return on a form provided by the Department of Revenue. The return must include all of the following:

      • (a) The name and address of the person claiming adverse possession.

      • (b) The date that the person claiming adverse possession entered into possession of the property.

      • (c) A full and complete legal description of the property that is subject to the adverse possession claim.

      • (d) A notarized attestation clause that states:UNDER PENALTY OF PERJURY, I DECLARE THAT I HAVE READ THE FOREGOING RETURN AND THAT THE FACTS STATED IN IT ARE TRUE AND CORRECT. I FURTHER ACKNOWLEDGE THAT THE RETURN DOES NOT CREATE ANY INTEREST ENFORCEABLE BY LAW IN THE DESCRIBED PROPERTY.

      • (e) A description of the use of the property by the person claiming adverse possession.

      • (f) A receipt to be completed by the property appraiser.

      • (g) Dates of payment by the possessor of all outstanding taxes and matured installments of special improvement liens levied against the property by the state, county, or municipality under paragraph (1)(a).

      • (h) The following notice provision at the top of the first page, printed in at least 12-point uppercase and boldfaced type:THIS RETURN DOES NOT CREATE ANY INTEREST ENFORCEABLE BY LAW IN THE DESCRIBED PROPERTY.The property appraiser shall refuse to accept a return if it does not comply with this subsection. The executive director of the Department of Revenue is authorized, and all conditions are deemed met, to adopt emergency rules under ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54(4) for the purpose of implementing this subsection. The emergency rules shall remain in effect for 6 months after adoption and may be renewed during the pendency of procedures to adopt rules addressing the subject of the emergency rules.

    • (4) Upon the submission of a return, the property appraiser shall:

      • (a) Send, via regular mail, a copy of the return to the owner of record of the property that is subject to the adverse possession claim, as identified by the property appraiser’s records.

      • (b) Inform the owner of record that, under s. 197.3335, any tax payment made by the owner of record before April 1 following the year in which the tax is assessed will have priority over any tax payment made by an adverse possessor.

      • (c) Add a notation at the beginning of the first line of the legal description on the tax roll that an adverse possession claim has been submitted.

      • (d) Maintain the return in the property appraiser’s records.

    • (5)(a) If a person makes a claim of adverse possession under this section against a portion of a parcel of property identified by a unique parcel identification number in the property appraiser’s records:

        • 1. The person claiming adverse possession shall include in the return submitted under subsection (3) a full and complete legal description of the property sufficient to enable the property appraiser to identify the portion of the property subject to the adverse possession claim.

        • 2. The property appraiser may refuse to accept the return if the portion of the property subject to the claim cannot be identified by the legal description provided in the return, and the person claiming adverse possession must obtain a survey of the portion of the property subject to the claim in order to submit the return.

      • (b) Upon submission of the return, the property appraiser shall follow the procedures under subsection (4), and may not create a unique parcel identification number for the portion of property subject to the claim.

      • (c) The property appraiser shall assign a fair and just value to the portion of the property, as provided in s. 193.011, and provide this value to the tax collector to facilitate tax payment under s. 197.3335(3).

    • (6)(a) If a person makes a claim of adverse possession under this section against property to which the property appraiser has not assigned a parcel identification number:

        • 1. The person claiming adverse possession must include in the return submitted under subsection (3) a full and complete legal description of the property which is sufficient to enable the property appraiser to identify the property subject to the adverse possession claim.

        • 2. The property appraiser may refuse to accept a return if the property subject to the claim cannot be identified by the legal description provided in the return, and the person claiming adverse possession must obtain a survey of the property subject to the claim in order to submit the return.

      • (b) Upon submission of the return, the property appraiser shall:

        • 1. Assign a parcel identification number to the property and assign a fair and just value to the property as provided in s. 193.011;

        • 2. Add a notation at the beginning of the first line of the legal description on the tax roll that an adverse possession claim has been submitted; and

        • 3. Maintain the return in the property appraiser’s records.

    • (7) A property appraiser must remove the notation to the legal description on the tax roll that an adverse possession claim has been submitted and shall remove the return from the property appraiser’s records if:

      • (a) The person claiming adverse possession notifies the property appraiser in writing that the adverse possession claim is withdrawn;

      • (b) The owner of record provides a certified copy of a court order, entered after the date the return was submitted to the property appraiser, establishing title in the owner of record;

      • (c) The property appraiser receives a certified copy of a recorded deed, filed after the date of the submission of the return, from the person claiming adverse possession to the owner of record transferring title of property along with a legal description describing the same property subject to the adverse possession claim; or

      • (d) The owner of record or the tax collector provides to the property appraiser a receipt demonstrating that the owner of record has paid the annual tax assessment for the property subject to the adverse possession claim during the period that the person is claiming adverse possession.

    • (8) The property appraiser shall include a clear and obvious notation in the legal description of the parcel information of any public searchable property database maintained by the property appraiser that an adverse possession return has been submitted to the property appraiser for a particular parcel.

    • (9) A person who occupies or attempts to occupy a residential structure solely by claim of adverse possession under this section prior to making a return as required under subsection (3), commits trespass under s. 810.08.

    • (10) A person who occupies or attempts to occupy a residential structure solely by claim of adverse possession under this section and offers the property for lease to another commits theft under s. 812.014.

    History.- s. 7, ch. 1869, 1872; s. 6, ch. 4055, 1891; RS 1291; GS 1722; RGS 2936; CGL 4656; s. 1, ch. 19254, 1939; ss. 13, 14, ch. 74-382; s. 1, ch. 77-102; s. 523, ch. 95-147; s. 1, ch. 2011-107; s. 1, ch. 2013-246.