How a Florida General Warranty Deed Form Works
A Florida warranty deed form is a type of deed used to transfer real estate in Florida with a full warranty that includes all covenants of title. A person who signs a warranty deed guarantees that he or she owns and has all rights to the property. If there is a problem with title to the property, the person receiving the property can sue the transferor for breach of warranty.
Other Names for Florida General Warranty Deeds
Florida deeds are sometimes called general warranty deeds to distinguish them from special warranty deeds, which have a limited warranty of title. The terms general warranty deed and warranty deed are interchangeable.
Relationship of General Warranty Deed Form to Warranty of Title
Key Term: Warranty of Title. Title issues can be caused by many things, including errors in the public record, unknown liens against the property, undisclosed prior conveyances, forged deeds, missing heirs or unprobated wills, or disputes about boundary lines or surveys. Title issues often require legal action to fix and can decrease the value of real estate. If the property has no title issues, it is said to have clear title. A warranty of title is a legal guarantee from the transferor to the transferee that there are no title issues. If a deed makes a warranty of title, the transferee can sue the transferor over any title issues.
Under Florida Statute § 689.03, a Florida warranty deed conveys property with “full common-law covenants” even if the covenants are not spelled out in the deed. These common-law covenants include these six guarantees, which are known as the warranty of title:
- Covenant of Right to Convey – The person signing the deed has the legal authority to transfer the whole property and no third party had legal interest in it;
- Covenant of Quiet Enjoyment – The recipient’s right to possess the property will not be thwarted by a third-party claim;
- Covenant of Warranty of Title – The person signing the deed will defend against any claims to the property from third parties and compensate the buyer for any losses they might incur as a result;
- Covenant of Further Assurances – The person signing the deed will do whatever is necessary to help straighten out any title issues that arise;
- Covenant of Seizin – The person signing the deed has the same interest in the property that the warranty deed conveys to the new owner; and
- Covenant Against Encumbrances – There are no restrictions (liens, mortgages, etc.) that would restrict the new owner’s use and possession of the whole property.
These covenants are not limited in time to the period when the person that signs the deed owned the property. The person signing the deed is responsible for all claims, even those that arose due to the action or inaction of a prior owner.
In modern real estate practice, title insurance is often used to supplement—and sometimes replace—the warranty provided by a Florida warranty deed. Title insurance shifts the risk from the seller to the title insurance company. If there is a problem with the title to the property, the new owner can file a claim against the title insurance policy.
Comparison of Florida General Warranty Deeds to Other Forms of Florida Deeds
A Florida warranty deed form is the only form of Florida deed that provides a full warranty of title that is not limited in time. It is often used as an alternative to a Florida quitclaim deed form, which makes no warranties of title, and a Florida special warranty deed, which provides a warranty of title that is limited to the time that the prior owner owned the property.
Example: Pasco conveyed real estate by warranty deed to Collier. After the transfer occurred, Collier learned that Duval—who owned the property before Pasco—had tax liabilities that resulted in a federal tax lien against the property. Because Pasco conveyed the property to Collier by warranty deed, Collier may sue Pasco for breach of the warranty of title. This is so even though the problem with the title was not created by Pasco, but by Duval, who owned the property before Pasco.
If Pasco had conveyed real estate by special warranty deed, Collier would not have had an action against Pasco. The warranty provided by a special warranty deed would have extended only to the time when Pasco owned the property. Similarly, had Pasco used a quitclaim deed, Collier would have had no legal recourse against Pasco. Quitclaim deeds provide no warranty of title.
The term warranty deed defines only the warranty of title. Other deeds—like life estate deeds and lady bird deeds—are named after probate avoidance features. These are independent concepts. For example, a single deed may be both a warranty deed and a lady bird deed.
Common Uses of General Warranty Deeds
A Florida warranty deed form is most often used in the traditional sale context, where a buyer is paying market value for a parcel of Florida real estate. Although it may be used in other settings, quitclaim deeds and special warranty deeds are more common.
How to Create a Florida General Warranty Deed
The exact form of Florida warranty deed will vary, but the general warranty language is prescribed by statute. Florida Statute § 689.02 provides this model language to include in a Florida warranty deed form:
This indenture, made this ___ day of _____ A.D. , between _______________, of the County of _______________ in the State of _______________, party of the first part, and _______________, of the County of _______________, in the State of _______________, party of the second part, witnesseth: That the said party of the first part, for and in consideration of the sum of _______________ dollars, to her or him in hand paid by the said party of the second part, the receipt whereof is hereby acknowledged, has granted, bargained and sold to the said party of the second part, her or his heirs and assigns forever, the following described land, to wit:
And the said party of the first part does hereby fully warrant the title to said land, and will defend the same against the lawful claims of all persons whomsoever.
As with most statutory examples, this language provides only a starting point. In practice, Florida warranty deeds are modified to reflect the specifics of the transaction and do not track this language exactly.
In addition to these statutory requirements, the Florida warranty deed must also meet the general requirements and best practices that apply to all Florida deeds. These requirements include a valid legal description, statement of consideration, and a description of the manner in which co-owners will hold title. The form should also include the customary space for the property’s appraisal parcel identification number and social security numbers for the grantees. The appraisal identification number can’t serve as the legal description.
A Florida warranty deed must also comply with all of Florida’s recording requirements, including the correct font size, page margins, and other page format requirements. It should also use the correct signature blocks for the grantor and each witness and use the form of notary acknowledgment approved by Florida law.
It is important to use the language that corresponds to the deed. Even slight differences in language can invalidate the deed or alter its intended use. The deeds created by our Deed Generator automatically include the correct language for warranty deeds and are in a form that is ready to be recorded in the appropriate county.