Legal Memorandum: Definition of Property Possession in FL

Issue: Definition of property possession according to Florida law.

Area of Law: Real Estate Law
Keywords: Property possession; Quitclaim deed
Jurisdiction: Florida
Cited Cases: 380 So. 2d 1289; 111 So. 285; 1 So. 2d 861; 928 F. Supp. 1568; 80 Fla. 423; 433 F.2d 1243; 146 Fla. 780
Cited Statutes: Fla. Stat. § 697.01(1)
Date: 01/01/2008

Under Florida law, the definition of possession is broad, and has been stated to mean having the personal charge of, or exercising the right of, ownership, management, or control over the property in question.  Tampa Pipeline Trans. Co. v. Chase Manhattan Serv. Corp., 928 F. Supp. 1568, 1577-78 (M.D. Fla. 1995) (quoting Tingley v. Brown, 380 So. 2d 1289, 1290 (Fla. 1980) (quoting Reynolds v. State, 92 Fla. 1038, 1041, 111 So. 285, 286 (1926))), aff’d, 87 F.3d 1329 (11th Cir. 1996).  See U.S. Sav. Bank v. Pittman, 80 Fla. 423, 431, 86 So. 567, 570 (1920) (stating that the complainant, who had quitclaim deed and key, had possession of property).

See Palm Beach Sash & Door Co. v. Rice, 146 Fla. 780, 781, 1 So. 2d 861, 862 (1941) (determining that record evidence supported conclusion that after the parties entered into contract of sale, the buyer, who rented to a tenant shortly thereafter, was in possession). 

In Torcise v. Perez, 319 So. 2d 41 (Fla. Dist. Ct. App. 3d Dist. 1975), the parties had entered into a contract for sale of certain real property, which the appellate court held constituted a mortgage.  Id. at 42 (construing Fla. Stat. § 697.01(1)).  Although the contract stated that the purchasers would make a down-payment and monthly payments until they paid the full purchase price, the contract was silent […]

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